Strange creatures: Giant frogfish

Giant frogfish in Indonesia

Not all marine life is graceful dolphins and quirky clownfish; sometimes you come across creatures that are quite, er, unpretty. This fish here, the Commerson’s or giant frogfish (Antennarius commersoni), would be one such creature.

Frogfish live in lagoons and rocky or coral reefs from the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean to the east coasts of the Pacific (this one was photographed by Leah off the coast of Lombok). Commerson’s frogfish (which grows to 38cm) is most commonly found at a depth of 20 meters and will usually always be seen dwelling on the ocean floor or reefs. They propel themselves with their pelvic fins, so it looks like they’re walking along the ocean floor (click here to watch a video of a “walking” hairy frogfish).

Frogfish have a wrigging lure (which will grow back if it’s eaten) on top of their dorsal fin, which they use to attract their prey. They are carnivorous and because their mouths are prognathous – meaning they have a jaw that projects forward – their mouths can open wide enough to consume fish that are the same size as their body; sometimes they will even eat their own species. Frogfish are solitary and will gather to mate, but they don’t tolerate each other and after fertilization has taken place, the larger fish might kill or eat the smaller one if it sticks around too log afterwards.

Interested in reading about other strange creatures that you can see when you dive with us? Then take a look here.


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