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By on February 2, 2012, with 136 Comments

It’s one of those “When You See It…” type of photos that really had me puzzled at first. But then when it suddenly popped-out, I spilled my coffee all over myself. So how long did it take before you were able to see it? If you can ignore the meaning just for a second, I think you’ll agree it’s one of the better submissions we saw lately. Agree? Huge props to Michael J. Höller for bringing this to my attention via our FB channel.

Impolite Fish Optical Illusion


136 Responses
  1. Brau says:

    HEY! Who’s taken a photo of my aquarium?

  2. Sergio says:

    I wonder if all the exemplars of that species are the same. Maybe it’s photoshopped?

  3. Care Bear says:

    Impolite?! That fish is downright rude–but cute.

  4. Jason says:

    HAHAH thats a good one!

  5. Paula says:

    It took me about 10 seconds!
    It is a wonderful illusion.

  6. Alex Deffendall says:

    Nice. Very nice.

  7. ann says:

    i dont get it. can someone explain

  8. billyg420 says:

    It only took me a second to see.
    I want that fish.
    That’s fucking awesome!!

  9. Jake says:

    Is it supposed to look like a fish eating another fish?

  10. Gabe says:

    I’m I the only one that doesn’t see it?

  11. Benua says:

    Only a few seconds, because of the title you used on it… Great !!

  12. David says:

    Hi’I saw it immediately

  13. Jenny says:

    Oh my dear. XD I actually had to ask a friend to help me out on this one, but cute. For something like this I would highly recommend not having an “answer page” to since I know for a fact that children access this site too.

    Glad you finally implemented the new layout and thank goodness you took out the gray bar. I’m a bit worried that everything is too blue and kind of melds into each other. Still a fan of your new logo though. ;)

  14. kelly says:

    I don’t see it! can someone point it out?

  15. kelly says:

    never mind i see it hahahahaha good one!

  16. keatk says:

    Looks like here’s the original, more polite fish: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wlschmidt/2172153262/

  17. Katie says:

    Okay, I’m confused. Help please!

  18. Tulex says:

    Pre shopped.


  19. 2NE1 says:

    things like babies animals are just picking up words left and right

  20. fossda says:

    PHOTOSHOPPED obviously but good

  21. Ahmad says:

    At first I thought it was another fish behind that fish, then I saw your title and began thinking what gives. Now I can see it. Lol is it real though or photoshopped?

    I want one ;-)

  22. Kristy says:

    That’s not an illusion.

    Illusion: a perception, as of visual stimuli (optical illusion), that represents what is perceived in a way different from the way it is in reality.

    In reality this picture is just a fish with an offensive word on the side of it and that’s exactly what people see.

  23. Wendy TW says:

    If it’s real it’s amazing!! Is it real..???

  24. Amanda says:

    i don’t get it…someone help me? please?

  25. Amanda says:

    never mind…..i see it….right after i send a comment of course….but that fish is REALLY rude

  26. Cheddar says:


  27. Erica says:

    I don’t see it. What’s the illusion?

  28. Ravenn says:

    Definitly photoshopped!

    …but well done ;-)

    It’s a Copperband Butterflyfish, try google it, and see the real thing.

  29. Roosie says:

    Jajajaja! It took me a minute to see it but I have to have it as my desktop picture! I know my partner will take one look at it and think “what a nice fish!” :D

  30. Larry says:

    Awesome! I wonder if it was edited.

  31. Drew says:

    I figure it out when i rolled over and read the picture’s name!

  32. Katelin says:

    wow i had to read the comments and then look at it one more time and then i was like ooohhhh

  33. Mandy Brigwell says:

    It’s so obvious I looked for another illusion before i realised you didn’t know about mimicry in animals. The 90s film ‘Mimic’ is a classic if you’re into this stuff.

  34. soultaco says:

    Man, once you see it, that’s all you see after that!

  35. Trixy says:

    Wow, that is rude but the fish is cute. It took me some time to see it **** !

  36. jeromax says:

    Sorry but photoshoped ;-)


  37. Silver says:

    I hope this image is legit and not photoshopped, becasue if it is genuine than it is pretty awsome.

  38. E says:

    it took me 10 minutes!!! i didnt look at any other illusions until i figured this one out!!!(such a blonde) but now its the wall paper on my phone;)

  39. Greg says:

    I don’t get it!.. Well, I don’t see it. I see a fish facing toward an underwater plant, the fish looked photoshopped. Someone care to explain?

  40. Limin says:

    I don’t see it! What is it??? Is it supposed to look like the anemone is a vagina?

  41. Scott says:

    Is this real? There is no way. Really?

  42. Steve says:

    Maybe you should change the title of the image file… I noticed it down the bottom after I worked it out luckily.
    Awesome pic

  43. Azn Girl says:

    it took me about 20 seconds, then I saw the K

  44. Jennifer says:

    pretty cool, hope it’s not real, lol

  45. kano says:

    Welcome to the cannibal reef.

  46. hilomaron says:

    so cool

  47. Rob says:

    It’s called a copperband butterfly and IRL the bands are vertical.

  48. Sammy says:

    i dont get it!

  49. Matjl says:

    Thats funny, i saw it instantly, but, neat

  50. Tim says:

    It’s a shame that the skill and quality of this illusion has been used to display such offensive and puerile language.
    It’s a great illusion – I would have liked to show my kids.
    Maybe the artist can use their talents for something a bit more inspiring?

  51. swizzlestix says:

    I don’t get it

  52. swizzlestix says:


  53. Crescine says:

    I do not understand at all, what is is??

  54. Josh says:

    Dude there are kids on this site, vurdlak and once they see the word, Fu** on a fish they will go mad

  55. Josh says:

    Hmm… don’t kids browse this website looking for cool and innocent illusions? :/

  56. Bubbleblue says:

    WOW! At first, I didn’t get it, so I just gave up. But then, I looked at the whole fish, and saw the illusion. That’s a good one!

  57. Karan says:

    WOW!! Yea Spilled my coffee as well!!!

  58. Stawolf1001 says:

    about 3 seconds and I burst out laughing :-)

  59. Jared says:

    I must buy this fish :D!

  60. Yo Girl 123 says:

    thats a bad 1 took a millisecond to figure it out.

  61. christina says:

    Still don’t get it or see the rudeness please someone explain

  62. Ju says:

    I donno get itz :(

  63. mimi says:

    i don’t see it, can someone point it out 2 me?

  64. Math says:


  65. Halley says:

    Hints please !

  66. Rikke says:

    Does anyone know if the fish is for real or photoshoped??

  67. Greg says:

    FUC* stripes on the body

  68. Consuela says:

    Please take this naughty fishy off my front page…

  69. momofask says:

    Not appreciated

  70. Mary says:

    Not appropriate at home with 4 grandkids or especially at work (a children’s hospital). Must delete the gadget rather than risk this again. Sorry!

  71. Jeff says:

    Today I’m deleting this sight from my links.

  72. Jim says:

    Low class- not very clever.

  73. Frank says:

    Photoshopped.. 1 star

  74. Gina says:

    Totally faked in photoshop. Copper-banded Butterflyfish (that’s the name of the fish) have 4 unbroken vertical bands on their bodies. The horizontal marks shown here are fake..

    It would be so hysterical if it was real…

  75. Zaz says:

    for all u ppl who are wondering what the illousion is, on the fish it has the “F” word. i dont wana say it cause im only 10 and i think this just reuend my day! >:U

  76. Hannah says:

    OMG i just realized it, LMAO ;)
    Hint: It says a four letter word on its skin ;)
    ‘Nother Hint: Starts with F

  77. eee efff geee says:

    I saw it in 2 seconds yeah I have a dirty mind .-.

  78. Dan says:

    That was easy to see

  79. schnallity says:

    Aside from the photoshop work, there’s actually an optical illusion on the fish itself, thanks to Mother Nature: the black spot on the fish’s body looks like an eye, making the fish look like a predator fish with a tail sticking out of it’s mouth to it’s enemies.

    And I bet this fish’s enemies say “oh Photoshop-curse!” when they see him coming!

  80. Josh says:

    It says Fu*k on the fish’s side

  81. James says:

    This one is great !


  82. Betty says:

    Hint: look at the pattern of the fish…

    i placed my cursor over the picture and solved it instantly. is this a real fish??

  83. Eric says:

    ANSWER: Look at the stripes of the fish. It should read the “F” word :)

  84. tgunny says:

    besides the fish eating the other fish did any1 notice the stripes spell out “fuck” lmao

  85. alexis says:

    that is very inappropriate kids play on this site like me

  86. Tsaukpaetra says:

    No, it’s photoshopped. Read the posts above, especially by Keatk and Tulex.

  87. hi says:

    What’s so impolite? Please ppl help me! Is it supposed to be looking at something or…..?

  88. Lisa says:

    don’t see a thing people

  89. Iris says:

    Look at the markings on the fish :P I didn’t get it until a while after, either! Very Rude!

  90. Alisshiaa12 says:

    I honestly hope that fish is photoshopped.
    Marine animals are getting crueler by the minute…

  91. Kyraa says:

    LOL this took me 3 days to finally figure it out…

  92. SD says:

    what has science done!!!

  93. Lily Hargrove says:

    Your gadget had been on my desktop until this illusion forced me to remove it. My two boys (8 and 10) had really enjoyed the illusions. I’m just taken aback, and disappointed, that you felt this was appropriate.

  94. RIk says:

    Check this out…401166_3121428155432_1256411501_33350038_1835633278_n.jpg

  95. RosinaWilson says:

    Saw it right away ;) Wondered whether it was real or ‘shopped ~ thanxxx to jeromax for posting the original pic.

  96. RosinaWilson says:

    A hint for Halley ~ The yellow stripes form 4 letters…

  97. Astrid says:


  98. Harveen says:

    It’s been photoshopped…. That just ruined my day, I thought it was pretty cool until I saw some of the pre-photoshopped pics…:( Sorry guys!

  99. A says:


  100. LAS says:

    Would be better if it weren’t photoshopped, and even better if the people with kids would just lighten up. It’s a word – and it’s not like they won’t see/hear it again.

  101. HiI'manormalperson says:

    You know kids go on here…

  102. plmethvin says:

    Not kid-friendly. I am disappointed. Plus, it’s shopped. so where’s the illusion? The fish doesn’t “appear” to be impolite by the false markings. It IS impolite.

  103. Jimbo Braggart says:

    What’s inappropriate about it? I’m sure that most kids, while absorbing their mandatory images of murder, abuse, alcoholism, drug use, chauvinism, bigotry, and other desensitizing perversions served up by the entertainment industry, they have come across the word “fuck” at least 4.37 times.

  104. Patrick says:

    Saw 4 letter word on fish about 20secs after window painted. Looked all around it for other creatures 1st…

  105. Anastasia says:

    What it washed up on the beach and you saw it. (I know its photoshopped.) Just asking a what-if question.

  106. the smarted person on earth (or not) :) says:

    I FINALLY GOT IT after like, a couple weeks… lol. *hints* the word is the yellow stipes on the fish. look at the strips, not the white parts

  107. ramadhan says:

    natural illusion..

  108. Moillusionlover says:


  109. jy says:

    When you see it….you will sh*t bricks

  110. Chickadee says:

    That is the coolest fish in the world!!!!!!

  111. Atty says:

    I think this fish to be rather rude.. xD

  112. NIck says:

    Yep, what you have there is a Fuckfish

  113. I says: says:

    at first it took me FOREVER to guess it because i was looking way to close. if your having trouble, just stand back, look at the fish’s yellow striped. the stripes are letter. and it says the f- word

  114. larry says:


  115. james says:

    only had to open it to speak

  116. Red says:

    now i saw it. ohhhhh

  117. Someone says:

    My friend had this as a desktop and I wanted the picture but couldn’t find it. FINALLY
    Oh, not to worried about anybody else getting the picture…

    I won’t get in trouble.

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