6. Frogfish Chorus

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Frogfish are some of the most sought-after critters on the Dauin coast, with good reason. Big gaping frog-like mouths allow them to suck in fish almost the same size as themselves with a muscle reflex which is one of the fastest in the animal kingdom. Highly developed pectoral and anal fins allow them to walk about, despite being pretty good swimmers. They are Anglerfish, using “aggressive mimcry” by having a lure (esca) to attract their prey.  We could go on, and on (and frequently do), but take a look at the range of Froggies that are putting in an appearance right now in Dauin….

Thanks to Teresa Zubi for her identification tips in her excellent Frogfishes (Southeast Asia, Maledives, Red Sea) eBook (Teresa Zuberbühler 2014).


Giant Frogfish (Antennarius commerson)

IMG_7373_ed_wmGrowing as big as a football, the Giant Frogfish can come in many colour variations, but most commonly coal-black.  Giant Frogfish can frequently be seen covered in bits of algae and weed, blending in perfectly to their surroundings until it’s time to strike.  Sometimes difficult to tell apart from other Frogfish in the juvenile stages, the Giant Frogfish generally has a pronounced fleshy first dorsal spine above their eyes where their bushy lure (esca) is attached by a long thin filament.


Warty or Clown Frogfish (Antennarius maculatus)

IMG_7136_ed_72Covered in lots of bumps with a leaf-like flat esca (lure), and usually in bright colours with lots of darker spots, these eye-catching guys stand out a mile, especially during the juvenile stage when they sport their clown-like costumes.

IMG_2586_ed_72_wmJust as well they have an expanding stomach that can accommodate a meal the same size as themselves, so do not need to feed very often.  We all know people like that.


Painted Frogfish (Antennarius pictus)

IMG_3604_ed_72_wmThis Frogfish generally is a uniform colour, with faint circular speckles and patches and almost always three  light-edged spots on or near the tail.


Hairy or Striped Frogfish (Antennarius strictus)

IMG_7243_ed_72_wmA particular favourite of ours, this Frogfish starts out life with delicate brown stripes on top of a sandy base, but over time develops whispy hair-like tendrils that make them a real challenge to spot.

IMG_7253_ed_72_wmTheir esca (lure) is also different from other Frogfish, resembling a couple of fat, juicy worms, just ready to entice an unwary goby into a fatal approach.  Not so much Gone in Sixty Seconds – more like Gone in 6 Micro-seconds!

 

 


3 replies
  1. Tricia Prozik
    Tricia Prozik says:

    PLEASE keep posting!! We have been using this info as part of our homeschool! Love learning about the creatures of the sea!!

    Reply

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