This week we had a Frogfish-tastic week in Lembeh with lots of different species: Hairy, Giant, Painted, Warty / Clown, all of varying colours and sizes. PLUS we found three Sargassum frogfish when cleaning our beach in front of the resort!
But what are these weird fish?
Frogfishes are a type of anglerfish and are found in almost all tropical and subtropical oceans and seas around the world, the primary exception being the Mediterranean Sea.
They generally live on the ocean floor around coral or rock reefs, at most up to 100 meters (330 ft) deep, in areas where the surface level water usually has a temperature of 20 C (68 F) or more.
They are often brightly colored, white, yellow, red, green, or black or spotted in several colors in order to blend in with their coral surroundings. Coloration can also vary within one species, making it difficult to differentiate between them. Many frogfish can actually change their color over a few days or several weeks. It is unknown what triggers the change.
Rather than typical dorsal fins, the front-most of the three fins is called the illicium or “rod” and is topped with the esca or “lure”, and this is used to catch food by “fishing”. Frogfish might look cumbersome and walk very slowly, but they are incredibly fast at catching prey!
The “fishing rod” often has striped markings, while the lure takes a different form in each species. Because of the variety of colors even within a single species, the rod and lure is a useful tool to differentiate among different varieties. Some of them resemble fish, some shrimp, some polychaetes, some tubeworms, and some simply a formless lump.
Here is a collection of frogfish that have been seen in Lembeh, and apologies in advance for the bad naming!
If you have any photos of frogfish from Lembeh then please send them in!