[Ocean Oasis Field Guide] Satellite image of the Baja California peninsula and Gulf of California See Spanish version

Antennarius sanguineus
Bloody frogfish, Pez antenado, Peces pescadores

photo of head of a bloody frogfish, from Ocean Oasis © 2000 CinemaCorp of the Californias
The head of a bloody frogfish.

Frogfishes are almost impossible for divers to see during the day and are much easier to see at night by the artificial light of a divers lamp.

Family: ANTENNARIIDAE (Frogfishes)


The frogfish has a lumpy, globular, soft body with loose fitting skin covered with flaps resembling marine growth. Its foot-like pectoral fins provide support as it lays motionless on the bottom. It possesses a highly modified first dorsal spine that acts as a fishing rod (illicium) tipped with a lure (esca). Its mouth is large and directed upward. The coloration is variable, and may be yellow, yellow-brown, or reddish, with brown spotting and mottling. They are up to 10 cm (4 inches) long.

Range and Habitat

Found from the Gulf of California to Chile, this species is the most common frogfish in the eastern Pacific, occurring from shallow waters down to 40 m (130 feet). The adults inhabit deeper water; the young are common under ledges and crevices on shallow reefs.

Natural History

The sedentary frogfish is a master of camouflage with coloration that closely matches its surroundings. It attracts small prey by vigorously wiggling its lure, using it as bait to attract prey near its mouth. It quickly swallows its catch with a vacuuming action.

Text by Patricia Beller
Photograph from Ocean Oasis © 2000 CinemaCorp of the Californias

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