It's Mark's turn for a "big fish trip" so while he's off on this seriously neat research expedition, Sally and I are holding down the fish fort and experiencing the Kermadecs vicariously via the blog. The picture of Clinton on SCUBA getting ready to swim a transect in clear water is a great image, one which captures the wonder and expansiveness of being underwater. As a "fisho" I was even excited to see Mandy and her Molluscs.
Museum life is busy with one man down, but I still found time to have a quick look at a particularly interesting Monkfish that Ken brought to my attention. The Celebes Monkfish, Sladenia remiger was known from only one specimen collected in Indonesia in 1910 at depth of 1294 m. Our specimen was collected in 1989 off Tuncurry at a depth of 1080 m. We hold the only known specimen from Australia and as far as I can tell there have only been a handful more collected elsewhere since 1999. Being a bottom-dwelling deep sea fish with so few specimens in museum collections virtually nothing is known of it's biology. It belongs in the family Lophiidae (Monkfishes and Goosefishes). These are bottom dwellers which have adapted fleshy appendages for camouflage, a lure to catch prey, and fins that are more like limbs so they can "walk" along the bottom of the ocean. This specialised little fish is very rare indeed.