Four New Snailfish Species found off the Aleutian Islands

 Allocareproctus unangasScientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently published a paper describing four new snailfish species they found on various survey studies done around the Aleution Islands.

Snailfish are usually tadpole shaped with soft, scaleless skin that is covered with a jellylike mucus. They are so slimy they are sometimes referred to as snotfish!

The official names of the newly described species are:

Allocareproctus kallaion – from the Greek word for comb in reference to its teeth.
Allocareproctus ungak – from the Aleut word for “whiskers” because it has so many whisker-like papillae on its head.
Allocareproctus tanix – unlike its cousins, this critter has a bald forehead so takes the Aleut word for forehead.
Allocareproctus unangas – Named in honor of the people of the Aleutian Islands. Unangas is the word for the Aleuts of Atka Island, a major island near the center of the new species’ known range.

The meaning behind the genus name, Allocareproctus, is a little funny. It is derived from greek, “Allo” meaning “other” and “Careproctus” meaning “head” and “anus” – So, sounds like you can safely call them Snotty Butthead fish!?

You can read the researchers’ full report, Revision of the snailfish genus Allocareproctus Pitruk & Fedorov (Teleostei: Liparidae), with descriptions of four new species from the Aleutian Islands [pdf] which was published in Zootaxa.

Photo courtesy of NOAA

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Liparidae
Genus: Allocareproctus

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