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… to appear larger than they really are and thus protect themselves they fully unfold their prominent fins to form a fan?

FLYING GURNARD

Order: Scorpaeniformes.
Family: Dactylopteridae.
Distribution:The central western Atlantic Ocean, coasts of the Iberian Peninsula, African coasts and Mediterranean.
Measurements:90 cm.
Food:Invertebrates and crustaceans

Status of the Species:Scanty commercial value. Sports fishing

More information Flying Gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans) in Fishbase.