The Bony-Eared Assfish was first described in 1878 though the name of its discoverer (and why he decided on the name “assfish”) are lost in the mists of time. Can’t blame the dude: would you want “Discoverer of the Assfish” to be YOUR claim to fame? As for the creature’s supposed “bony ears”, those would be several sharp, backward-pointing spines trailing off the gill covers. Anything hungry enough to try eating an assfish is in for a rude surprise – on multiple levels.
So, what brings this obscure and obscene-looking deep sea denizen to the public eye? Credit (or blame) the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Thanks to museum curator Dr Gavin Hanke, the ignoble assfish was selected to lead off the museum’s new Pocket Gallery exhibit and then, the internet being what it is, people started noticing, pointing, giggling and so on. Check out Dr Hanke and the museum’s resident assfish in this video.
The foot-long assfish featured at the museum was caught just north of Vancouver Island about ten years ago… fear not, it’s been carefully preserved in all its ugly glory. B.C.’s Queen Charlotte Sound isn’t in the least tropical or even sub-tropical, however, so the appearance of an assfish so far north raised a scientific eyebrow or two.
Last but not least… are they tasty? Well, a slightly less ugly relative of the assfish known as the Pink Cusk-Eel (Genypterus blacodes, above) is already being fished commercially and at the rate edible fish are being over-harvested, it’s only a matter of time before McDonalds begins serving Filet-O-Assfish burgers. (images and info via ©WENN)