Everyone, please meet the minipizza batfish (Halieutaea stellata).
Yes, you read correctly. Minipizza, as in miniature pizza.
This flattened fish is also known variously as a round batfish, red batfish, starry handfish, starry seabat, and probably more (aka-gutsu in Japanese, アカグツ).
But truly, I prefer minipizza because, well...it's such an apt description that inspires mushy-gooey-squishy feelings:
Though to be complete, the fish's full name should perhaps be something more along the lines of minipizza-batfish-with-funny-flippers-that-waddles-more-than-swims-and-sometimes-flattens-itself-to-be-inconspicious-and-at-other-times-stands-on-its-fins-to-gain-(self-perceived)-high-ground-advantage, but I guess that would be too long. Certainly accurate though.
Minipizzas are generally found in deep water, from 50m to 400m or so, though they do occasionally come up to scuba-depth. This one and a few others were brought up in a fishing net. I got to photograph it on its way back down to depth after being released.
These fish are not particularly fast or graceful swimmers, which again doesn't come as a surprise given their morphology.
Of interest to me were the two "intake valves" (for lack of a better term) at the front end of the fish, which I believe connect to the two "exhaust valves" at the rear end. I didn't notice any obvious external gills, so I'm guessing that the two channels created by the intake/ exhaust structure serve to funnel water past internal gill structures. Anyone know more about this?
One more photo. How can you not love that perma-bewildered expression?