Warty Frogfish

This fish is full of bumps and warts!

It also has funny fins that look like feet.

Its funny fins look like a frog’s feet.

This is the warty frogfish I want you to meet!

A warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) housed at the Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences. (Image Credit: Ben Young Landis/CC-BY)

A warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) housed at the Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences. (Image Credit: Ben Young Landis/CC-BY)

But why does a fish need feet?

A fish might need feet if it likes to crawl around.

Crawling slowly on rocks to hunt for food.

Slowly enough to look like a rock, too!

The frogfish crawls around slowly, but its mouth is super fast!

Once it sees food — CHOMP — its mouth snaps!

It is not good for little kids to eat this fast.

But for the frogfish — that is how it snacks!

The frogfish has one more secret for hunting food.

It has a tiny fishing pole on its head — look!

Waving this secret fin, it tricks fish looking for food.

“Swim towards me, so I can eat YOU!”

The illicium (rod) and esca (lure) of the warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus). (Image Credit: Ben Young Landis/CC-BY)

The illicium (rod) and esca (lure) of the warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus). (Image Credit: Ben Young Landis/CC-BY)

For Parents:

Found in the Pacific and Indian oceans, the warty frogfish is a master of disguise. It comes in all kinds of colors, and its spots help camouflage its eyes.

Its warts let it blend into the coral reef, hidden from predators and prey. Those feet-like pectoral fins lets it crawl around and steady its perch, while its “fishing pole” — a specialized dorsal fin — allows the frogfish to lure unsuspecting prey closer to within striking distance. Snap!

Read more about the warty frogfish in the original Better Know a Fish blogpost: http://betterknowfish.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/warty-frogfish-antennarius-maculatus/

Antennarius maculatus (Desjardins, 1840)
Warty Frogfish (click for names in other languages)

Antennarius means “sensing organ”, while maculatus means “spotted”.

— Ben Young Landis

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