The Frogfish is a master of disguise and 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 1/8 inch to 22 inches in size. They’re often seen perched or hanging from corals and sponges at various angles while they wait for prey.
Frogfish, a type of anglerfish, have a textured exterior that aids in their camouflage. While they do not have scales, their amazing ability to camouflage themselves serves as protection from predators. Frogfish vary in color and often have unique spines or bumps that change with their surroundings.
Here are some more interesting frogfish facts:
1. Unlike many animals that use camouflage as a defense from predators, frogfish mostly use these abilities to attract prey. Many frogfish can change their color.
2. Frogfish have a modified dorsal fin that has a retractable lure resembling a shrimp, used to attract their prey. If their lure is eaten or damaged it can be regenerated. These lures have evolved into different shapes (twig, worm, feathers…) in order to bait their favorite meal.
3. Frogfish are carnivores. They eat fish, crustaceans and even other frogfish.
4. A frogfish’s mouth can expand to 12 times its resting size. This allows it to catch all sorts of prey.
5. Frogfish can swallow prey up to twice their own size.
6. Without any teeth, the Frogfish has powerful suction to engulf their meal whole to be processed by their digestive system.
7. Because frogfish lack a swim bladder, they use their modified pectoral fins to walk, or even gallop, across the seafloor.
8. the FrogFish is scaleless. Their “skin” can range from smooth to bumpy, “hairy”, resembling algae, sponges and corals, with plenty of hiding spots for eggs.
BEST PLACES TO FIND FROGFISH: These bottom-dwellers are usually found in tropic and sub-tropic regions which, fortunately, are home to the worlds best dives sites and top dive destinations. Some Frogfish live in shallow waters up to 75 meters in depth, while deep sea cousins live in 300 to 4000 meters. Look closely on reefs or on sponges as Frogfish will be the same or a similar color. Also look on sandy bottoms near orange or yellow sponges as well as well as underwater pilings, mooring weights, rope from discarded debris, chains and sea grass.
Since frogfish are not migratory, you can go back and visit them over a period of months and sometimes even years.
You will find them on Muck & Critter diving sites in the top diving destinations of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
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