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Frogfish

(Antennariidae)

Triggerfishes Sea Turtles

Frogfish are unusual, short, stocky, well camouflaged fish, with no scales, ranging from 2.5 - 38 cm in length. Their mouths point upward, and many species can change colour and are sometimes covered in short spines and other appendages to aid camouflage. A frogfish may also be covered with other organisms such as algae or hydrozoa.

Frogfish have three dorsal fins, however the front fin has evolved into a 'fishing rod' (illicium) tipped with a lure or bait (esca) which helps to lure prey. The esca ('lure') takes a different form in each species, which the illicium ('rod') often has striped markings. If lost, the esca can be regrown. In many species, the illicium and esca can be withdrawn into a depression between the second and third dorsal fins for protection when they are not needed.

Frogfish typically move slowly, prefering to clamber over the bottom on their arm-like pelvic and pectoral fins rather than swimming. Once the prey is spotted, they can walk slowly to approach, and once in range, they strike extremely fast, in as little as 6 milliseconds.

1 species found on this page.

Freckled Frogfish

Antennarius coccineus

Freckled Frogfish (Antennarius coccineus) @ Koh Haa

Antennarius coccineus @ Koh Haa

The freckled frogfish is sometimes known as the scarlet frogfish. This species does not have a tail base, meaning that the dorsal and anal fins end at the start of the tail.

There is a short lure, about half the height of the next dorsal ray. Freckled frogfish have a highly variable colour range, from pale yellow and other drab shades through to a strong red colour.

This species may possibly display a faint eye-shaped spot on the back, under the rear dorsal fin.

The freckled frogfish are solitary and can be found in reef crevices, large sponges, and coral rubble around the reef edge.

This species grows to 12 cm and feeds on small fishes by swallowing them whole.

Find Out More: Marine Life References and Further Information

Diving with Frogfish

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