Temporal range: 55-0 Ma
Lutetian to Present
T. N. Gill, 1878
Handfish are any anglerfish within the family Brachionichthyidae, a group which comprises five genera and 14 extant species. These benthic marine fish are unusual in the way they propel themselves by walking on the sea floor rather than swimming.
Handfish grow up to 15 cm (5.9 in) long, and have skin covered with denticles (tooth-like scales), giving them the alternate name warty anglers. They are slow-moving fish that prefer to 'walk' rather than swim, using their modified pectoral fins to move about on the sea floor. These highly modified fins have the appearance of hands, hence their scientific name, from Latin bracchium meaning "arm" and Greek ichthys meaning "fish".
Like other anglerfish, they possess an illicium, a modified dorsal fin ray above the mouth, but it is short and does not appear to be used as a fishing lure.[dubious ] The second dorsal spine is joined to the third by a flap of skin, making a crest.
The critically endangered spotted handfish, Brachionichthys hirsutus