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Bizarre All-Black Frogfish Washes Up On New Zealand Beach

Jan 27, 2016 05:25 PM EST

A bizarre fish that appears to have two legs recently washed up on a beach at the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.

The curious creature - believed to be a Frogfish - sports all-black, spiny skin and two fins on either side of its body. However, rather than being close to the abdomen, the fins are turned down and stretched out, resembling feet - which researchers say likely help propel the fish along the sea floor.

After being fished out of the water, the creature was sent to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, to be examined by experts, including Collection Manager of Fishes, Andrew Stewart.

"This weird creature is likely to be a species of Frogfish, but we won't know until we have a chance to examine it closely," said the museum in a statement.

However, it would make sense if the unusual animal was in fact a Frogfish, as the species is known for their leg-like fins, which they use to crawl rather than swim. (Scroll to read more...)

There are approximately 48 different species of Frogfish that can be found throughout the world's tropical and subtropical oceans. Generally speaking, these creatures are covered in tiny spines to help camouflage themselves. They also have a remarkably powerful bite.  

"Frogfishes have the fastest bite of any vertebrate. Their mouths expand at the speed approaching a .22 rifle bullet - and that's in a medium 800 times denser than air," the museum added.

The fish are also known to be cannibals and regularly eat shellfish, other ocean dwellers and even each other.

Although the newly found Frogfish died after it was taken out of the water, the museum hopes it will make for a good exhibit in years to come.

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