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A striking looking creature, which looks as if it’s set to star in an underwater Chinese New Year Parade, the Butterfly Cod is adorned with fins and spikes that fire out of its body in flamboyant fashion.
These fan-like protrusions, which are typically striped in appearance, are venomous and used for the fish’s protection. Located on the dorsal, anus and pelvis, the fins give the fish almost complete immunity to cruise the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
Growing up to 30 centimetres in length, the Butterfly Cod is a nocturnal animal that’s found mainly in tropical and subtropical waters. Here it remains stationary throughout much of the day before coming active around sunset.
In courtship, hordes of males fight over ripe females before the latter release thousands of eggs into the water. The male fish then releases sperm, which penetrates the eggs and leads to fertilisation.
The behaviour of the Butterfly Cod is somewhat akin to its fiery looks, as it shows little fear of divers and is known to eat its offspring from time to time. If you’re unfortunate enough to clash with one of its spines, extreme pain can result, and any injured limb should be placed in hot water (for the pain) before medical attention is sought.
This menacing armour of the Butterfly Cod has given it few predators, namely gropers, eels and humans. However, if left alone and viewed from a safe distance, this beautiful creature will not attack.
The Butterfly Cod pictured in this post was photographed at Low Isles, The Great Barrier Reef – Australia.