Frogfishes on www.frogfish.ch - Anglerfische auf www.frogfish.ch Frogfishes on www.frogfish.ch - Anglerfische auf www.frogfish.ch         www.frogfish.ch

Frogfish Behavior

Colors and Camouflage
Reproduction
Locomotion

 

Characteristics

Frogfish Terms - Esca and illicium
Print version frogfish behavior - Diese Seite in Deutsch

The Frogfish

The family of frogfish (Antennariidae =antenna bearers) comprise 13, perhaps 14 genera (Allenichthys, Antennarius, Antennatus, Echinophryne, Fowlerichthys, Histiophryne, Histrio, Kuiterichthys, Lophiocharon, Nudiantennarius, Phyllophryne, Rhycherus, Tathicarpus) with 48 (53?) known species. Check out frogfish taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships.

Frogfishes are relatively small fishes, the largest ist about 38cm (F. ocellatus), but there are quite a few small species around 5 to 10 cm large. Some species can be of many different colours, from black to red, orange, yellow, browns, white, purple, green, some even have patches of blue. The colours usually help them to mimicry their environment such as sponges, corals and algae.

Frogfish Terms

Frogfish terms for identification

Small stocky globose fishes (5-40cm). Loose prickly skin, limb-like pectoral fins with an elbow-like joint, small round gill openings behind the fins (not covered by plates), very large upward directed mouth. The pectoral fins are modified and look like feet, including small toes.

First dorsal spine is modified into a moveable fishing rod or luring apparatus (illicium) tipped with a fleshy lure or bait (esca). The rod or stalk comes in different lengths and is sometimes striped. The third dorsal fin is greatly enlarged.
Click on thumbnail for larger photo.

Gill opening behind leg
Gill opening behind leg
eye spot (Ocellus) dark with pale surrounding
eye spot (Ocellus) dark with pale surrounding
Membranes between dorsal spinesMembranes between dorsal spines

Esca and illicium

The shape of the lure is one of the main distinguishing marks that will even help a layman to identify a frogfish. The lure often but not always mimics a small animal. The lures of some species (Antennarius striatus or Antennarius hispidus) are shaped like a worm, others (Antennarius commerson or Phyllophryne scortea) like a shrimp or even like a small fish with eye-spot and appendages resembling fins (Antennarius maculatus). While using the lure the frogfish even imitates the way which that particular animal would move. Using mimicry to catch prey is called aggressive mimicry. Click on thumbnail for larger photo.

Giant frogfish (Antennarius commerson) - lure with long filaments, like a small shrimp
Giant frogfish (Antennarius commerson) - lure with long filaments, like a small shrimp
Warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) - lure like a small fish
Warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) - lure like a small fish
Hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus) - lure shaped like a polychaete worm
Hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus) - lure shaped like a polychaete worm
Bermuda frogfish (Antennatus bermudensis) - lure with dark swellings at the base
Bermuda frogfish (Antennatus bermudensis) - lure with dark swellings at the base
Hispid frogfish (Antennarius hispidus) - lure shaped like a pompom imitating a tube worm
Hispid frogfish (Antennarius hispidus) - lure shaped like a pompom imitating a tube worm
New Guinea frogfish (Antennatus dorehensis) - lure is directed ventrally
New Guinea frogfish (Antennatus dorehensis) - lure is directed ventrally

I identified all frogfishes (anglerfishes) to my best knowledge. Frogfishes are specially difficult to identify (see tips for identification) so mistakes are possible of course! Please write to me, if you have any questions. Latin names according to the newest scientific findings, ITIS Standard Report and Fishbase.


. Copyright Teresa Zubi