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
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11 thoughts on “H is for Hairy Frogfish Facts : A-Z Collection of Cool Animals”
How ugly an animal can get and become beautiful in the eyes of the beholder. The Hairy Frogfish is a creature moving about with the space of light thru space. Thank for sharing Melanie! S.
I had to click on this one – just for the name – “Hairy Frogfish” – I mean, how cool is that name? And then I was just enraptured! Is it just me or does it look like it could be a character on the Muppets? Maybe it’s the “googly eyes” on the top of its head, I don’t know – I just found the whole thing hysterically funny and cute. I love learning about all these unique creatures of our world – thanks Jeanne! 🙂
Haha. I never thought of the muppets, but you’re right, Anne! It does have googly eyes. Good observation. I think this is the coolest creature! It walks on knuckled fins, after all! How unique is that? I’m glad you enjoyed learning about the Hairy Frogfish. Stay tuned for more fun stuff!
I have never seen one of those things before, even in pictures. Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, Sandy. It’s just a little bit ugly, isn’t it? lol Thanks for your visit!
Wow! Some of those photos make it look pretty cool, others make it look kinda scary! Never knew this existed! Thanks for teaching me something new today!
You’re welcome, Allyse! I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂 Take care!
ooooo! I love the hairy frogfish! and the video is awesome! I love it coughing out bits of fish…. reminds me of the old Kliban cartoon “Never eat something bigger than your head.” I think the frogfish did.
Hey there! I’m glad you love the hairy frogfish. Isn’t it amazing? I love how it walks too … those ‘feet’. Way cool. I love finding stuff like this to share on my blog. I learn so much too. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog today. I appreciate you! Take care, and come back soon! 🙂
I was here :), Jeanne – and definitely enjoyed learning about the Hairy Frog – what a creepy creature! Wonder what kind of prince he would turn into with a KISS! Thank you for sharing, HUGS <3
Hello, Dr. Judy! Very nice to see you here. I don’t think I’m going to be the one to volunteer kissing that Hairy Frogfish to find out if he’s a prince. I’m glad you stopped by, and hope you’ll come visit us again. Cheers! 🙂