When does ugly become beautiful? In my view it’s when you’re a Frogfish! Without doubt they are some of the most bizarre fish a diver is likely to see. Yet behind their odd looks seems an inner grace and beauty that can only come from a fish so perfectly suited to its trade.
They can remain perfectly still even when a diver may be sticking his camera a little too close although they can jet-propel themselves along or use their pelvic fins to walk across the seabed when threatened or disturbed – or pursuing a mate. Frogfishes mainly eat fishes and crustaceans and can swallow prey that are twice as big as themselves. Frogfish are members of the Anglerfish family and found in tropical and sub-tropical oceans and seas. They can be quite difficult to tell apart – even Frogfish from the same species can have a wide variety of colours.
They are ambush predators and attract their prey with a fishing lure comprising a rod (Illicium) and the lure (Esca) which together are a modification of their first dorsal spine. Luring techniques vary depending on where the frogfish lives. For example, a frogfish living mainly on sand often has a lure that reaches close to the ground so it can dangle it at the entrances of burrows or entice benthic animals like flounders to come closer. A frogfish living exposed on sponges or corals might have a longer lure and will wave its lure above its head. A frogfish living hidden in crevices is often small with a small lure more like a white ball and will stretch it in front of its head or just above.