Sea Life

Which Species of Fish Have Legs?

Which Species Of Fish Have Legs

Fishes are one of the most fascinating and beautiful creatures of the aquatic and marine world. There are approximately 3,000 species of fish that live under the water. We have always heard and seen either in their natural habitat or in aquariums, they move and swims by moving their tail and flapping their fins. Right? But what if some fish have legs? Read on to find the truth. 

Which Species Of Fish Have Legs?

There are indeed some species of fish that have undergone evolution with the passage of time and their fins fulfill the role of legs. These exceptional creatures are enlisted below: 

1: Frogfish 

These fishes belong to the family Antennariidae; they are named so as they look exactly like a frog and can camouflage with the surroundings. These species are popularly found in New Zealand and Australia, particularly near the muddy and sandy ocean floor. Instead of pelvic fins, these species use pectoral fins to move in the water. 

2: Mudskipper 

These fishes instead of gills, respire through lungs and have fins that allow them to swim as well as to walk on the floor of the ocean. However, these species cannot walk on land because their body is adapted to open water habitat and are native to Australia and the Indo-Pacific oceans. 

3: Handfish 

The next in the row is Handfish which belongs to a group of Anglerfish. These species are named so as they look like small little hands and walk on the floor with the help of fins which serve as legs to walk on the seafloor. These species are found in Tasmania and Australian waters. 

4: Lungfish 

These species, as the name indicates, have lungs that allow them to breathe under the water as well as on land. Interestingly, despite spending months or years on the land, the unique fins don’t allow them to walk on the land but help them to walk on the lake floor. 

5: Batfish 

Another member of the Anglerfish is the Batfish which is blessed with pectoral fins, serving the role of legs. These species are particularly adapted to walk on the ocean floor as their body is not ideally adapted to swim actively which is why they are often found deep in the ocean waters. 

6: Warty Frogfish 

This fish is a one-of-a-kind creature that may reach a maximum length of 15 cm. The flexible body of these fishes is covered with soft skin with dermal denticles which allow them to live near the ocean floor. The dorsal fins of the fish function as a leg and help them to walk. 

7: Axolotl 

These are not fishes but are sometimes mistaken as fish because of their visible gills. These species are commonly known as Mexican walking angler fish which can also be kept in aquariums as a pet. They have cylindrical bodies with long tails, movable eyelids, blunt snouts, huge jaws, and short legs. Each foot has 4 or 5 toes which allow them to walk on the ocean floor easily. 

8: Lobe-Finned Fish

These species belong to the extinct genus Tiktaalik, which appear in the Late Devonian era. In appearance, the species somewhat resembles a crocodile. These species have central appendages in their fins which consist of bones and muscles, making the fins flexible enough to support their body while walking on the ocean floor.

9: Red-Lipped Batfish

This fish has a remarkable appearance with prominent red lips and large body and a long mouth. It is usually found in the oceans of the Indo-Pacific region. This specie has modified pelvic and pectoral fins that act like legs and let them walk on the ocean floor. 

10: Leptolepis

This group of fish belongs to prehistoric fish of the genus Leptolepis means having slender scales. These species have 2 pairs of legs which are modified to work as a leg allowing them to walk on the ocean ground. 

Final Verdict 

Fishes have fins that help them to swim actively but many species of fish evolved over time, modifying their fins to function as legs and allowing them to walk on the floor comfortably. Some of these remarkable creatures still exist in the ocean waters or some might’ve gone extinct long ago.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.