Every diver loves frogfish. Even though some might call them ugly, weird or grumpy they come in so many colors and variations they are just fascinating creatures.
These masters of mimicry and camouflage can be tiny or, in case of giant frogfish, up to 40 cm in length.
Most kinds are to be found on the ocean floor apart from the saragassum frogfish which lives in floating saragassum weed.
They can mostly be seen sitting on a sponge, between coral or next to anything that allows them to camouflage whilst waiting for prey to approach. A modified dorsal fin is used as lure as it seems to have a bait attached to it.
Fact 1 – The lure can re-grow if it is damaged or destroyed
Smaller fish are attracted to the lure as it looks like a worm or a shrimp. When the fish is close enough the frogfish opens the mouth rapidly which creates suction and the prey is drawn into the mouth.
Fact 2 – The suction of the prey is the fastest amongst all fish
Fact 3 – Frogfish can easily engulf a larger prey
Fact 4 – Frogfish do not have teeth and therefore have to swallow their prey whole
Fact 5 – frogfish do not use their camouflage to be protected from predators but avoid being seen by the prey
Besides using the lure many frogfish can catch prey by just waiting and when an animal gets too close it will be sucked in. Some also „hunt“ by slowly approaching their prey.
Fact 6 – Frogfish are missing a swim bladder and therefore must „walk“ on the sea bottom
While frogfish can be found in many areas of the tropics and subtropics the highest diversity is found in the indo-pacific, especially in Indonesia.
Fact 7 – The highest diversity of frogfish has been found in the Lembeh strait, Indonesia
The family of the Antennariidae consists, according to Fishbase, of 50 species of 14 genera of which one genus and 4 species are still to be described. A detailed overview over the species can be found here.