Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Orders: Lophiiformes (Anglerfishes)
Family: Antennaridae (frogfishes)

Genus/species: Antennarius maculatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: A. maculatus has numerous wart-like protuberances resembling rock or coral.  Coloration can be changed and is highly variable, ranging from cream to yellow, brown, or black with scattered dark circular spots and saddles or blotches ranging from white to pink, rust-red, or red. It may change to white with coral bleaching.


The first dorsal spine, the illicium is modified and is used as a fishing rod. Its extremity is endowed with a characteristic esca (lure), which looks like a small fish with a pinkish to brownish coloration. The pectoral fins are angled and help, with the pelvic fins, to move the fish on the bottom and to keep a stable position for ambush predation.

Length up to 15 cm (6 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indian and Western Pacific Oceans among sheltered rocky reefs, algae, sponges and soft corals to 15 meters (49 feet).  It is a reef dweller, perching on coral ledges.


DIET IN THE WILD: The Warty Frogfish has its own lure (esca) to catch and consume shrimp and fishes in less the 6 ms-one of the fastest feeding times for vertebrates.


REPRODUCTION: Oviparous. Eggs are bound in ribbon-like sheath or mass of gelatinous mucus called ‘egg raft’ or ‘veil’.
During mating they do not tolerate each other except for the act of fertilization. The female can kill or eat the male if he stays close.

LIFESPAN: 3-5 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Not Evaluated

REMARKS: The warty frogfish exhibits when illuminated by blue or ultraviolet light, it re-emits it as red, which may assist intraspecific communication and camouflage.

Color of Life note: Concealment by camouflage. The Warty frogfish has a bumpy surface with variable colors typical of corals.


California Academy of Sciences:  Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef  2017



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