This Flashy-Painted Fish Looks Like It Belongs in ‘Avatar’

Photos of a vibrantly-colored fish that looks too flashy to be real have gone viral on Japanese social media, prompting many to ask if it was the result of too much digital editing.

Last Friday, popular YouTube channel Fishing Gang Azusa took to Twitter to post a very intriguing picture of their latest catch – a flashy fish that almost looked painted. People started asking if it was real or just a case of too much Photoshop, but it wasn’t before Azusa posted a video on YouTube of them catching the fish that the photos went viral. The footage shows the alien-looking fish in all its splendor, leaving many viewers with their mouths wide open at the thought that such a creature actually exists.

Photo: Fishing Gang Azusa/Twitter

The painted-looking fish is apparently known as ‘Kinubella’ (キヌベラ) in Japan, and ‘surge wrasse’ (Thalassoma purpureum) in the western world. It lives in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, where it inhabits reefs and rocky coastlines. Despite its toxic-looking color, the surge wrasse is edible, although it is of minor importance to commercial fisheries, and more valuable as an aquarium fish.

Ever since the original photo of the fish was posted on the Fishing Gang Azusa Twitter page, it has received over 200,000 likes and 37,000 retweets. People just can’t get over how alien it looks, with many claiming that it belongs in James Cameron’s Avatar.

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