Hairy Frogfish

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A weird creature indeed, the Striated Frogfish is one of the world’s weirdest looking fish to inhabit the ocean.

Why do they call it the hairy frogfish?  Their body is covered in 1,000’s of fleshy spines that looks just like… you guessed it… hair. These hair like body extensions are called spinules and help the frogfish to blend into coral, sponges and sea weed.  These unique “hairs” can also change color to match their surroundings, making this fish extremely difficult to spot on the ocean floor.

Frogfish are masters of disguise. 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.

HairyFrogfishBecause frogfish lack a swim bladder they area terrible swimmers and does more “walking” due to the design of their side fins which actually have joints like toes.

And much like frogs, the frogfish will attempt to stuff any creature into their over sized mouths.

Unlike many animals that use camouflage as a defense from predators, frogfish mostly use their abilities to attract prey.

Frogfish have a modified dorsal fin that has a retractable lure resembling a shrimp, which is used to attract their prey. If their lure is eaten or damaged it can be regenerate

A frogfish’s mouth can expand to 12 times its resting size. This allows it to catch all sorts of prey.

Here’s another surprising fact.

Frogfish are also cannibals, meaning they eat their own kind. Males have been known to kill and eat a female frogfish if she stays too close after mating

Where to Find: The striated frogfish is found in the tropical and subtropical waters from the Indian Ocean to the center of the Pacific Ocean, and in the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast of Africa and from the New Jersey coast to the southern Brazilian coast including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Please visit our diving destinations for more information. You can find this crafty creature in oceans all over the world hanging out near sandy bottoms, by coral reef, sponges, or hiding in trash and debris.

Did you know that when the frogfish is in a favorable spot for hunting that it will stay in the same position on the ocean floor for weeks at a time.

So how does it catch it’s prey?  The frogfish is known as an angler fish. They have a special adaptation on the top of their head that hangs out in front of it’s face like. This can sometimes look a shrimp or a small fish that dangles and attracts unsuspecting prey.  The camouflaged frogfish will wait til it’s victim gets close enough and then BAM! strike with lightening speed so fast, that’s it’s unseen by the human eye.

 

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April 1, 2016 |

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