The Frogfish represents a most unusual type of anglerfish. They also remain popular for their typically short, stocky physique, and apparent mastery of camouflage.
This fish inhabits tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, along with the Red Sea. Yet the greatest diversity of species occurs in the Indo-Pacific region.
Most reside near the ocean floor and dwell at depths of no more than 330 ft (100 m). They also most commonly stay in or near coral reefs, or rocky floor areas.
Frogfish Physical Characteristics
Frogfish range in average size from 1-15 in (2.5-38 cm), depending upon the variety.
Most evolved without scales and instead possess a covering of bifurcated spinules.
The mouth of the Frogfish grows sharply upturned, and the gills stay small and sit behind the pectoral fins.
The fish typically boasts bright colors in combinations of either red, yellow, green, white, or black with spots. Further, the coloring varies with each individual.
Their appearance and coloring serve as excellent camouflage. Many species evolved to closely resemble other sea creatures, to fool potential predators and prey alike.
Frogfish Camouflage and Hunting
The Frogfish evolved their distinctive appearance to deceive, an approach that science calls aggressive mimicry.
Some species inflate their bodies at will, to appear larger. Others can alter their colors at will as well. The exact chemical process they use to accomplish this still remains a mystery to scientists. They are so adept at camouflage, that sea slugs have been seen to crawl across them, without recognizing their true identity.
The Frogfish is an ambush predator. They consume small fish, crustaceans, and even other Frogfish. Additionally, when they strike, the attack can be as rapid as six milliseconds. The mechanics of such a rapid motion remains an unexplained mystery. Most strikes are too fast for the human eye to follow.