There really is a Bony-Eared Assfish

This rudely named unique deep sea animal was described by National Geographic.

Acanthonus armatus (bony-eared assfish) is a bathypelagic species of cusk-eel found in tropical and sub-tropical oceans at depths of from 1,171 to 4,415 metres (3,842 to 14,485 ft).


After seeing a number of stories pop up about a funky little fish newly displayed at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Weird Animal Question of the Week decided to take the author’s prerogative to ask “What in the world is a bony-eared assfish?”

It’s actually a type of cusk-eel, an eel-like fish that resembles a “glorified tadpole, with a bulbous head and a tapering tail,” Gavin Hanke, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, says via email.

The museum’s specimen was caught ten years ago in Queen Charlotte Sound (map), off the coast of central British Columbia.

Put on display at the museum in January, the odd-looking fish has been a delight to kids “who now have a valid excuse to say ‘assfish,’” Hanke quips. …

Are You For Eel? 

Like many other deep-sea creatures, assfish bodies are “soft and flabby, and their skeleton is light and reduced,” says Hanke. A lack of food and high pressure at depth may make generating muscle and bone difficult.

It’s also chilly down there in the sunless depths—about 37 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 4 degrees Celsius), so it’s likely assfish have slow metabolism that prevents them from being too active. …

It “can move fast in short bursts,” he adds, but the video “shows it to be a lazy swimmer, only fluttering its fins to make any headway.” …


You may or may not be interested to learn that the bony eared assfish is not considered endangered.

Enjoy this video, the BEAF looks much better in its native environment.

What insulting name do you imagine this fish would have for humans?

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