13 Fish Species Can Walk With Legs

The world is full of mysteries. Though we have grown up reading that, fishes are a kind of species that move with tails and fins, we all must have come across the idea of fish with legs at least once in our lifetime. Isn’t it? Well, this may sound like a fictional idea, but it is not. Yes, you got that right, there are some fishes, which do have legs for walking. Bizarre truth!

Fish with legs is quite impossible to think of as it prevents them from swimming. However, there is evidence of 13 fish species that exhiʙɪᴛ the act of walking with legs. Fishes like mud fishes, Garnai and Axolotls, and loaches have evolved leg-like limbs to move on land.

 What are some of the fishes with legs?

You might have heard of one or two fish species having legs. But do you know there are at least 13 species of fishes that once had or currently have walking abilities on the land?  Here are the names of those fishes. Have a look!

  • Panderichthys rhombolepis: These are usually 90 -130 cm long fish having large teᴛʀᴀᴘod-like heads. Their head is much flattened and narrow. They have an intracranial joint, which is quite common in lobe-fin fishes.
  • Tiktaalik roseae: This species lived 375 million years ago with similar features like teᴛʀᴀᴘods. These four leg fishes are the first ones to walk.
  • Tarrasius problematicus: These species are an ᴇxᴛɪɴᴄᴛ order of the prehistoric ray-finned fish.
  • Ogcocephalus darwini: These red-lipped batfish are usually found in the Galapagos Islands. They have adopted pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins for walking on ocean floors.
  • Antennarius maculatus: This unique fish species grows up to 15 cm. They have a much extensible body with softer skin covered with dermal spinules. Their dorsal spine is modified to be used as a fishing rod, which also helps them walk.
  • Leptolepis koonwarriensis: This is an ᴇxᴛɪɴᴄᴛ genus of the teleost fish, which used to live in both marine and freshwater ambiance.
  • Eastmanosteus pustulosus: This particular species lived during the middle to late Devonian era. Their fᴏssɪʟs are found in various parts of the sediments in the marine world, which showcases their locomotory ᴏʀɢᴀɴs similar to teᴛʀᴀᴘods.
  • Atractosteus spatula: This one is a kind of ray-finned euryhaline. They are the biggest species that belongs to the gar family.
  • Protopterus annectens: This fish species is widely known as tana lungfishes or African lungfishes. Their pectoral and pelvic fins evolved to form 4 limb-like structures, which help them to walk on land and in mud.
  • Latimeria chalumnae: Known as gombessa, they are a rare type of ᴠᴇʀᴛᴇʙʀᴀᴛᴇ, which have a closer resemblance with lungfish and teᴛʀᴀᴘods.
  • Brachionichthys hirsutus: This spotted handfish is an ᴜɴᴜsᴜᴀʟ type of fish species that have adapted their pectoral fins as their hands. Thus, using them, these fishes can walk on the floors of oceans.
  • Polypterus bichir lapradei: This freshwater fish belongs to the polypteridae family and possess similar walking characteristics as teᴛʀᴀᴘods.
  • Chelidonichthys cuculus: This red-colored bottom-living fish has three rays or pectoral fins, which come with finger-like structures containing sensory ᴏʀɢᴀɴs.
  • Sauripterus taylori: This species was available a long time ago but had limb-like legs for walking. They belonged to the Rhizodontidae family.
  • Hemiscyllium ocellatum: This long-tailed carpet shark has a large black spot in its pectoral fin. They can walk by wiggling their body and thrusting their paired fins.

How many fishes can walk on the land?

Recently, a team of U.S National Science Foundation-backed scientists has found that at least 11 species of fishes can walk on land.

These recent findings are based on the CT scans and the latest evolutionary map of the hillstream loach family. It includes only one living fish species that are caught walking, known as the Cʀʏptotora thamicola or cave angelfish.


Though fish with legs is a weird idea to imagine, they do exist in reality. There are many fishes that have legs to execute their locomotion on the land. They differ in many ways from the usual fishes and may not be cared for within a tank. However, knowing about these mysterious creatures is undoubtedly exciting and enticing!

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