Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday
Image by Michael Patrick O'Neill
Frogfish have unique pectoral fins which have an “elbow-like” bend at the front and then just behind these they have smaller pelvic fins which resemble legs. This odd fish is named after the sargassum sea grass beds it camouflages itself in. The color can change rapidly to match its surroundings. It is a voracious hunter and will eat other sargassumfish. Sitting very still, the sargassumfish ‘fishes’ with its rod-like illium topped with a lure-like lump. It crawls around the sargassum with its specialize fins, and when threatened, can hop out of the water onto the sea weed mats for extended periods of time. The sargassum fish has fleshy weed like appendages that blend in with the algae sargassum. Their skin is smooth, lacking dermal spines which distinguish it from other fish in the family. The head and body appear as one unit with no defined separation because the gill openings appear as pores on the lower margin of the pectoral fin (near the base of the fin). The sargassum fish has an upturned mouth with an illium over the margin of the eyes. All frogfishes have a “lure” which is a fine antennae which stems from the top of the frogfishes head and dangles a bait-like looking appendage directly in front of the frogfish to attract prey. When frogfishes have prey in front of them they are incredibly fast to open their mouths and they suck in their prey whole, without chewing. Female frogfish will produce between 40,000 – 180,000 eggs at one time which actually makes them slightly buoyant. When frogfish first hatch (as larvae) they appear to be fully formed miniatures but they have actually yet to develop their lure.