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The hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus) is one of the lesser-known marine animals in the world. They are also known as anglerfish and the Striated frogfish and inhabit the sub-tropical waters of Indian, Pacific and, Atlantic oceans, and along with Indonesia. They can also be spotted on the shores along Indonesia and around Lembeh Island.
This species is characterized by the unique spines on their body. They also have a lure and rod on their body which allows them to catch prey very easily. They are great predators and feed on a varied range of marine animals such as crustaceans and small or big fishes.
The hairy frogfishes also have the unique ability to change the color of their body to camouflage completely with the surrounding, which makes them very hard to spot if anyone decides to go diving in search of them!
The hairy frogfish or Striated Frogfish, like the name suggests, is a fish. Although, it is interesting to note that some of its features are quite unlike what we expect from fishes.
To speak in scientific terms, this species belongs to the class of Actinopterygii. However, the class that we would commonly associate them with is that of marine animals.
There is no conclusive or absolute data that can tell us the exact number of hairy frogfishes that there are in the world, however, their conservation status suggests that their numbers are not predicted to see a decline in the near future.
Hairy frogfishes are found mostly in sub-tropical regions, where they camouflage themselves with the ocean bed or coral reef in order to find prey.
This species can be spotted along almost all the oceans on earth, including the Indian, Pacific and, Atlantic oceans. They can also be found along the western coast of Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, where they would almost always be completely one with their surroundings and very hard to recognize!
Hairy frogfishes are not ideally found in large schools, since they are particularly fond of hunting and cannot swim. However, they often occur in pairs of a male and a female frogfish during the mating season.
You will be thrilled to know that this species can live up to 2o years, much like other frogfishes!
This species reproduces through spawning. During the mating season, the female is guarded by the male on the ocean bed till she is ready to lay the eggs. One of the fun facts about a hairy frogfish is that since it cannot swim, it ingests and throws large amounts of water out in a fashion that quite literally propels! Male and female hairy frogfishes, therefore, propel themselves together for spawning.
The fertilized eggs remain suspended in the water for a couple of days and later sink to the ground when the embryo has been formed.
The IUCN has declared the conservation status of the hairy frogfish as Not Extinct. This suggests that the population and habitat of this species face no immediate threat. However, the steady degradation of coral reefs due to pollution and climate change does make them vulnerable to habitat loss.
The hairy frogfish is a rather interesting-looking marine creature. This species spends its entire life underwater, and cannot swim. Its pelvic fins and dorsal fins, instead of swimming, are used for crawling up to their prey. They also have a lure and a rod on their body, which will definitely remind you of a fishing rod. This allows them to attract innocent and unsuspecting prey such as small fishes, which they then creep up to and strike violently.
The hair-like protrusions on their yellow-colored body are actually an extension of their skin - which allows them to camouflage completely with the ocean floor or coral reefs. When it comes to camouflage, they also have the chameleon-like ability to change color!
These fishes usually occur in black, brown, tan, red, yellow or, orange colors - although it is very difficult to differentiate them from their habitat. They have a set of gill openings that let them breathe underwater, and a large mouth that helps in swallowing large creatures.
While some marine-life enthusiasts may think of the hairy frogfish to be an absolutely adorable species, it is tough to completely neglect their huge mouth, spines of uneven length and, wide-set eyes. You may choose to differ, but their features don't really match with the quintessential idea of the word 'cute'!
There is no conclusive study that would let us the exact way in which an Anglerfish would communicate. However, it is certain that they would have some means of their own that would allow them to mate with the other sex!
Hairy frogfishes have a huge range when it comes to size. Their length can vary from 1-15 in (2.5-38cm), which is quite a large spectrum. They can even vary in height and can reach a maximum of 8.7 in (22.09 cm). Such a variation is caused due to the fact that this species has the ability to expand. Their stomach, particularly, can expand greatly - which also gives them the opportunity to hunt for fishes or crustaceans that are larger than themselves.
This species, unlike other fishes, do not swim! They use their dorsal spine to crawl across the ocean bed when they are hunting.
An average hairy frogfish can weigh about 0.07 lb (31.75 g). Although, due to their expendable nature and rich diet, it is hardly possible to point out a specific weight!
The male and female hairy frogfishes not only have very little difference when it comes to their physical features, they do not even have distinct names for the two sexes. We would simply have to refer to them as the male hairy frogfish and the female hairy frogfish.
Like in the case of other fish species, the baby hairy frogfish would be called fry!
Right from birth, the tiny hairy frogfish can be seen to have developed the spines on its body.
Hairy frogfish or anglerfish belong to the family of predators. Thoroughly carnivorous, a hairy frogfish will prey on almost anything that it comes across underwater, whether it be crabs, shrimps, small fish such as a midas blenny, or large fishes such as flounders. The main predators of this fish are lizardfish and scorpionfish.
Hairy frogfishes are rather aggressive predators. They can be seen to strike their prey in the most grotesque fashion. At the same time, it is also interesting to note that this species of fish hardly ever performs any dramatic captures. It slowly creeps up to its prey and eats it whole.
When not hunting, the law almost motionless on the seafloor, with the lure bent out like a fishing rod. They are also not poisonous and very much real.
It is hardly likely that this species would make for a good pet. Their habitat is almost impossible to replicate in a domestic or commercial tank. Additionally, their eating habits will also be very tough to keep up with if you decide to have a hairy frogfish as a pet.
The hairy frogfish can change the color of its body according to the surroundings, which makes it very tough to put a finger on what they might look like!
This species is characterized by its large mouth, giving them the ability to gulp down large fishes such as flounders!
Although hairy frogfishes are incredible predators, there are other marine creatures that feed on them such as scorpionfish and lizardfish. At time same time, it is important to note that this keeps the food chain functional - instead of endangering our unique little friends.
One of the funny facts about the hairy frogfish is that this species is known to have a few palatal teeth, that are almost of no use to them. They cannot chew their prey with these teeth, and strictly choose to swallow them without chewing!
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these dragonet facts and gulf toadfish facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable hairy frogfish coloring pages.
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