Giant Frogfish (Commerson's Frogfish)

Yellow Giant Frogfish, Antennarius
Franco Banfi/WaterFrame/Getty Images

The giant frogfish, or Commerson's frogfish (Antennarius commerson) is a great camouflage artist. Looking at some frogfish images, you'd think the fish is a sponge or rock, as it can change color to blend in with its surroundings. Its lumpy, scale-less skin makes it a very unique-looking fish.

 

Frogfish are classified in the Class Actinopterygii, or ray-finned fishes, because their fins are supported by sturdy rays, or spines.

While they might not look bony, they are also classified as bony fish (as opposed to cartilaginous fish, like sharks and rays).

The giant frogfish may grow to about 14 inches in length. Frogfish can "walk" across the ocean floor using their modified pectoral fins. They may be a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, black and green (click on the image above for two other color versions), and may change color to blend in with their surroundings.

 

Classification:

 

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Lophiiformes
  • Family: Antennariidae
  • Genus: Anntenarius
  • Species: commerson

 

Habitat and Distribution:

The giant frogfish is found in tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean and Red Sea. Click here for a range map. CoralRealm lists the best places to see the giant frogfish as Lembeh Straits, North Sulawesi; Batangas, Philippines; and Kona coast, Hawaii.

Feeding:

 

Frogfish feed on small fish. They can easily blend in with their surroundings, and may look like a sponge, coral, rock or algae. Its prey may get too close before it realizes it, and by then, the frogfish has gulped it down. A frogfish's mouth cavity can expand up to 12 times its size, allowing them to eat prey even larger than themselves.

You can see a frogfish feeding on a lionfish in a video here.

If lying in wait fails, frogfish can lure their prey in. Like anglerfish, frogfish have a modified dorsal spine that acts as a fleshy "lure" to attract prey.

 

Conservation:

Frogfish have not been reviewed by the IUCN RedList. They are likely most highly sought-after by divers, who wish to photograph and observe them in the wild.

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Kennedy, Jennifer. "Giant Frogfish (Commerson's Frogfish)." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2016, thoughtco.com/giant-commersons-frogfish-2291581. Kennedy, Jennifer. (2016, February 9). Giant Frogfish (Commerson's Frogfish). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/giant-commersons-frogfish-2291581 Kennedy, Jennifer. "Giant Frogfish (Commerson's Frogfish)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/giant-commersons-frogfish-2291581 (accessed October 24, 2017).