Hairy Frogfish Facts
A-Z Collection of Cool Animals Challenge
H is for Hairy Frogfish
Hairy Frogfish are a type of anglerfish from the Antennariidae family, found in almost all tropical and subtropical oceans and seas around the world, with the exception of the Mediterranean Sea. They live near sandy bottoms, by coral reef, sponges, or hiding in trash and debris, generally at most up to 330 ft (100 meters) deep. The greatest diversity of species is in the Indo-Pacific region, with the highest concentration around Indonesia.
Hairy Frogfish Facts – Features
- Frogfish are stocky and range from 1-15 inches (2.5–38 cm) long.
- Their body has no scales but is covered with 1000’s fleshy spines that look like hair. These hair-like extensions are called “spinules” and have the ability to change color to match their surroundings to help the frogfish blend into coral, sponges and seaweed.
- Their short bodies have between 18 and 23 vertebrae and their mouths are upward pointed with palatal teeth.
- The hairy frogfish rarely swim and gives the appearance of “walking” due to the design of their pectoral and pelvic fins which actually have joints like toes.
- Some species of frogfish can also inflate themselves, like pufferfish, by sucking in water in a threat display.
Hairy Frogfish Facts – Camouflage
- Hairy frogfish can change their color, from yellows or yellow-browns to darker green, black, or dark red.
- They usually appear with a lighter color, but the change can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. It is unknown what triggers the change.
Hairy Frogfish Facts – Hunting
- Frogfish eat crustaceans, other fish, and even each other, being cannibalistic.
- Males have been known to kill and eat a female frogfish if she stays too close after mating. (Now, that’s just rude!)
- They will stay in the same position on the ocean floor for weeks at a time in a place they consider a good hunting spot. The camouflaged frogfish will wait until its victim gets close enough before they strike.
- They have a special adaptation on the top of their head that hangs out in front of its face like a fishing lure, called the esca. This can sometimes look a shrimp, a small fish, or a worm, that dangles and attracts unsuspecting prey.
- If the esca is somehow damaged or lost, it can be regenerated.
- When approaching prey comes to within roughly seven body-lengths … (well, watch this video for spectacular footage!).
- Slow-motion filming has shown that the frogfish sucks in its prey in just six milliseconds, so fast that other animals cannot see it happen. This is less time than it takes a muscle to contract, so the source of the motion remains unknown.
- Hairy frogfish will attempt (and succeed) to stuff any-sized creature into their over-sized mouths, and can also expand their stomachs to swallow animals up to twice their size.
H is for Hairy Frogfish – aren’t they amazing?
Source for Hairy Frogfish: Wikipedia
Video: Willy Buser
I hope you have enjoyed, “H is for Hairy Frogfish”
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