University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
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Freckled Frogfish


Frogfish are any members of the anglerfish family, Antennariidae, and the teleost order Lophiiformes. There are at least 46 known species of Frogfish. A rather complex design, this fish comes in a variety of color and color patterns. Some di1943stinguishing features include a large, anterodorsally directed mouth with more or less 2-4 rows of small, villiform teeth on both jaws, a short, laterally compressed body, and laterally directed eyes. One of the most unique designs of this fish is the presence of three dorsal spines, the first of which acts as a lure for prey.

These are carnivorous fish that while sedentary, are quite voracious. They rely on their camouflage and aggressive mimicry to lie in wait for prey, then use their lure to entice shrimp, fish, worms, or tiny squid close to their mouth. Once close, they quickly engulf their prey in their mouth. Frogfish currently have the fastest-known prey engulfment of any vertebrate. Frogfish may mimic algae or soft coral to keep themselves hidden, but unlike animals such as chameleons, Frogfish can’t change their color scheme and patterns quickly. It will usually take a couple of weeks before a Frogfish is fully invisible in its new environment.

Frogfish can be found in marine, freshwater, and brackish bodies of water. Marine species are found in all tropical seas except for the Mediterranean. The majority of these are located in the Indo-Australian Archipelago, but some occur in the Gulfs of California and Mexico, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf as well. The tropical and subtropical waters are more common habitats for frogfish, but there are some species that have been found in temperate waters. These fish are largely a benthic species that can be found on the bottom, anywhere from shallow, to deeper waters. There is at least one species of Frogfish that has been found living among floating Sargussum seaweed in the pelagic layer. It should be noted that Frogfish lack a swim bladder and swim via jet propulsion, not with their tails.