The tripod fish, Bathypterois grallator, is a bathypelagic (deep sea) fish named for the long extensions of its pelvic and lower caudal fins, on which it stands on the sea floor. The tripod fish is closely related to the smaller spiderfish (Bathypterois longifilis), which is similar in appearance and habits but smaller and with much shorter fin extensions; the two species are often found standing very near to one another on the ocean floor.
It spends much of its adult life standing on the ocean bottom on its fins. The fish stands facing the prevailing current, and hunts by extending its unusually long pectoral fins into the current and waiting for the small crustaceans on which it feeds to simply bump into its fins. The fish grasps its prey in the pectoral fins and directs it toward its mouth. It reaches a length of approximately 37 centimetres (15 in).
The extensions of the pelvic and caudal fins are stiff enough for the fish to stand on them for (presumably) extended periods of time. However, deep sea researchers have succeeded in surprising the fish enough to make it swim; when it swims, the tripods seem to be quite flexible.
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