Several species of fish have been seen ‘walking’ along the seabed in a variety of different styles.

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Which fish can 'walk'?

Aided by buoyancy, bottom-dwelling frogfish use their pectoral fins to shuffle after prey, while epaulette sharks also use their pelvic fins to haul themselves between rockpools.

In fresh water, lungfish walk on long, fleshy fins, but on land this turns into more of a belly crawl. Mudskippers also venture onto land. Their pectoral fins have a joint-like bend that, with their tails, allows them to spring across muddy estuaries. These all follow a rather loose definition of walking, but deep in the Thai rainforest, cave angel fish do things differently.

They are one of the very few fish to have a bone connection between their pelvic fins and spine which, combined with strong muscles, allows them to walk through caves and even up waterfalls in a fashion similar to a newt.

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Authors

Laurie Jackson headshot
Laurie JacksonEcologist and writer

Laurie is an ecologist and writer, and has been contributing to BBC Wildlife since 2018.

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