As one may imagine, the tripod fish has been given this rather curious name due to the fact that it appears as if it is literally standing upon a tripod. Of course, this is only an illusion. Its two large lower fins will touch the sea floor. As these fish are found within the depths of the temperate zones of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, they are not commonly seen in recreational areas. Interestingly enough, the form that this fish has taken on has much to do with the way that it hunts for food.
We are accustomed to seeing most fish hunt for their food by swimming back and forth in a proactive manner. However, the tripod fish goes about this approach a bit different. One of a handful of interesting quick facts is that it will literally prop itself up on its lower legs and remain perfectly still for the majority of the day. This actually enables it to be in a perfect position to quickly snag an unsuspecting shrimp or similar critter as it passes below.
Another one of many quick facts is that this creature possesses both male and female organs. So, it can very literally reproduce with itself if necessary. Scientists believe that this evolutionary trait was developed to offset the fact that there are not a large number of tripod fish within any one given area. However, this life is not altogether lonely. Should a fish come across a counterpart of the opposite sex, it will commence to copulate normally.
Due to the depths at which these fish swim, their eyes are of little use. They are more vestigial organs than anything else. Instead, their lower fins are extremely sensitive to currents and the tiniest of vibrations. Should prey happen to be in the area, the chances are high that the tripod fish will be well aware. Of course, this is also a great early warning system for any predators that may be lurking about.
The body of this fish is quite small; normally between 12 and 14 inches. However, its reach stretches out far beyond this seemingly diminutive size. The lower fins have been known to extend as many as three feet to the sea floor below! This provides it with a great way to snag prey while once again being aware of any dangers within a specific area.
Scientists have noted that the fins of this fish can become quite rigid when it is using them as a pedestal and yet when they swim, they are flaccid much like the appendages of a normal creature. It is still not certain how this transformation is accomplished. Scientists believe that they may be using some type of water pump to give strength to these impressive fins.
Although this fish is not very large, it is indeed a sight to behold. Like many other deep sea creatures, the tripod fish can be a bit camera shy. So, be sure to keep your eyes open and remember these quick facts. If you do spot one, do not worry about bringing a tripod for your shot; one already exists.