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Frogish Facts

Frogfish are full of surprises, from their adaptive colors, shapes and elasticity, to their hunting equipment and mobility, these ambush predators have over 45 species ranging from 5 to 40cm. They're often seen perched or hanging from corals and sponges at various angles while they wait for their prey.

In many species, the first dorsal spine develops into a rod and lure to attract prey – thus they are considered to be anglerfish. The lures have evolved into different shapes (twig, worm, feathers…) in order to bait their favorite meal. Frogfish can swallow prey up to twice their own size. See this remarkable frogfish hunting video. Without any teeth, they have powerful suction to engulf their meal whole to be processed by their digestive system. Their diet consists of crustaceans and fish... including other frogfish. Which makes these cannibals their own threat, along with moray eels, other predators and habitat destruction.

Illicium (rod) length and esca (lure) type are a usefule means of identification. Other ways to identify a species is by size, eye spots, fin types and spines. Coloration varies within a species, and they can change color from within a few seconds or over a longer period to match surroundings. So, color is not helpful in identification.

These bottom-dwellers are usually found in tropic and sub-tropic areas. Some live in shallow waters up to 75 meters in depth while deep sea cousins live in 300 to 4000 meters. Since frogfish are not migratory, you can go back and visit them over a period of months and years.

Although further research into their reproduction is needed, we do know that some species create a fertilized egg raft, and others guard the fertilized eggs on their bodies. Their skin ranges from smooth to bumpy, "hairy", resembling algae, sponges and corals, with plenty of hiding spots for eggs.

Animal Tracks Fun Facts...

Frogfish don't usually swim, they walk... on twos and fours! They have developed leg-like fins with webbed feet. Instead of swishing tails and fins to move about, they propel themselves through the water by forcing water out through their gill holes just under or behind their pectoral fins.

In this video, a Hairy Frogfish (Antennarius striatus) is taking a walk with a younger frogfish along the bottom of the ocean floor. Notice the feather-like lure at the end of the rod used to attract it's desired prey. Two of their legs are tucked up underneath.

Search the Image Database...

View Frogfish Image Gallery
  Our image database has a growing collection of images from around the world contributed by folks like you. Currently, most of our frogfish images are from West Maui diving spots. You may also search our image database for plants and animals that interest you.

You could also create an account to share your own images. Our main purpose is to track marine life via digital imagery. We are also dedicated to education and sharing information related to coastal and ocean habitats and inhabitants.

Resource Links...

Here are a few of the resources used in creating this Web page on frogfish. Please click on the logos to learn more about frogfish and these helpful organizations.

Dive the World - Newsletter Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures Tree of Life Wikipedia - Frogfish