Frogfish, sometimes called anglerfish, are predators upon other fish. They typically rest nearly motionless on the bottom and are equipped with a first dorsal spine modified into a slender "fishing pole" called an illicium tipped with a lure or bait called the esca. They have huge mouths and expandable stomachs that allow them to eat quite large fish. We saw one eat a passing wrasse that was easily half again as long as he was; the prey curled up in the frogfish's distended stomach. Rapidly opening his cavernous mouth created suction that almost instantaneously inhaled the prey. The frogfish are tough to identify from photos alone. Without being able to look at the anatomy of an in-hand specimen, you have to depend on external coloration, spotting, the size and shape of the illicium and esca, and maybe the morphology of the fins. In many species, the colors can vary widely, making color alone a risky form of identification. The application of names on these pages is based on study of the books and web pages, but in the end are still largely guesswork. The species accessible through this page were photographed in the Marshall Islands and Hawaii, with one species from the Solomon Islands. We have many more from several trips to Indonesia and the Philippines, and they will be added sometime in the future.
For a lot more excellent information on worldwide frogfish, see the Frogfish site. The proprietor of that site also has an excellent and well illustrated downloadable book on frogfish that includes their biology and identification.
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