Callorhinchus milii - The Elephant Fish
This unfortunate-looking chap is an elephant fish, from the Antarctic basin. Antarctic elephant fish are smaller and more wrinkled than the variety that New Zealanders might know as elephant shark that comprises much of the “fish” side of fish & chips shops on the Islands. Their standard whitefish-like meat with palatable texture made them popular even before Europeans arrived in the South Pacific, with indigenous Maori populations. Since the fish come very close to shore during breeding season, Maori were able to catch and dry large numbers of them for the rest of the year.
The eponymous elephant-like trunk of the elephant fish is a proboscis, and the fish’s primary mode of food detection. As it weaves along the sea floor, the sensory nerves of the proboscis pick up movement from any buried crustacean life, and guide the fish to its prey. Though not prehensile by any means, most species of elephant fish are thought to use the proboscis to dig out the prey, as well as locate it.
Fishes and Fishing: Artificial Breeding of Fish, Anatomy of their Senses, Their Loves, Passions, and Intellects. W. Wright, Esq., 1858.