Fun Monkfish Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Oct 20, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Read these monkfish facts to know more about this aquatic animal.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

Have you ever wondered what a monkfish is or what a monkfish is like? The monkfish (Lophius americanus) is one of the strangest looking fishes in the sea world. There are various species of Lophiidae anglerfish found in the North Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean especially near northern Gulf of St. Lawrence south to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. There are different types of monkfish found in the north sea and Mediterranean sea too. Monkfish (family Lophiidae) have large broad heads which are flat and depressed. The remainder of the body of this species is a mere appendage to the head. This fish species is found at the bottom of the sea. Its pectoral and ventral fins are formed so that they act as feet. This feature makes it possible for the fish to walk on the bottom of the sea. The monkfish body is made in such a way that it can conceal itself in its surroundings, waiting for its prey to come. It is also known as poor man's lobster. The common name for this species is goosefish, monktail, and fishing frog amongst others.

Some species of the monkfish have three long filaments shooting out from the middle of its head. Out of these, the middle one acts like a radar which attracts prey towards it. The monkfish then seizes them and devours them completely with help of the long pointed teeth, which are inclined inwards. Out of all the monkfish species, the devil anglerfish faces the greatest threat to its survival. They have the capacity to swallow the whole prey at one go. After reading all about the monkfish, do read our other articles on pacific salmon and anchovies facts.

Monkfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a monkfish?

The monkfish is kind of a fish found at the bottom of the ocean.  This strange-looking creature is one of the most aggressive predators in the sea world. Its tail is considered a delicacy in many countries. Their sharp teeth make them a threatening predator.

What class of animal does a monkfish belong to?

The monkfish belongs to the fish class of animals. It is a strange-looking creature, also known as a sea-devil. It is known to eat its own kind, too. They are known as 'all mouth' due to their oversized mouth compared to the rest of its body.

How many monkfish are there in the world?

The exact number of monkfish is difficult to calculate. But as per the stock assessment, the monkfish is not overfished and neither are they being overfished in the present day. The American angler stands at the biomass of 197280 metric tons.

Where does a monkfish live?

The monkfish lives at the bottom of the ocean. They can adjust well to low temperatures and low pressure in the deep sea.

What is a monkfish's habitat?

There are many species of the angler monkfish that are common across the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian oceans. They are also found in the north sea and Mediterranean sea. Finding an east Atlantic species is an easy task as they can be easily located along European coasts. The east Atlantic species is found along the coasts of Europe. American angler are found on the North American side of the Atlantic. They are also found near the coast of Japan and China. The black monkfish and white anglerfish are found in shallow waters from 800 m deep to deeper waters of 1000 m.

Who do monkfish live with?

Monkfish are lone ferocious predators who are known to stay at the bottom of the ocean floors. The goosefish species are known to ambush their prey by changing their color and hiding under the seaweed and bottom sands.

How long does a monkfish live?

The female monkfish live for at least 13 years, and males only live for seven years. They are known to swim slowly or rather walk on the ocean floor from place to place.

How do they reproduce?

The goosefish migrate seasonally from the month of February through October to spawn and feed. The male and female monkfish release their reproductive eggs directly in the water. After which, the female monkfish release the egg veils, which contain more than a million eggs. These veils float near the surface for some weeks until the larvae hatch. All these eggs are arranged in a single layer and after one to three weeks, depending on the temperature the larvae emerge from these eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status for most species of monkfish or angler fish is of Least Concern and as per some data, there is no excess fishing happening. As such, no efforts are being implemented to curb the fishing of this species. As the fishery of the monkfish has been managed in a sustainable manner, its fishing is rather encouraged. Though, one of the sub-species, specifically the devil anglerfish, is near threatened as per IUCN.

Monkfish Fun Facts

What do monkfish look like?

Monkfish are some of the most strange-looking species in the world. The sub-species like devil anglerfish look really threatening in appearance. They have a broad head that has an extremely wide mouth and flattened bodies. Their mouth extends all around their head. The mouth is lined with long pointed teeth which are inclined inwards. The heads are so big that the rest of the body almost looks like addition or an appendage. They can grow up to 4.5 ft in length.

A monkfish has pointy teeth.

How cute are they?

They are not very cute. Monkfish are odd-looking creatures. Their head is like 90% of their body. They are also known to be vicious predators who can swallow any fish that are their size.

How do they communicate?

They are lonesome creatures who are not known to live in a community or with a partner. It is likely that it is not a very communicative fish.

How big is a monkfish?

All varieties of monkfish come in different sizes. Even the sizes of male and female monkfish are different. The average monkfish grow 3-4.5 ft. The American monkfish is around 47.2 in long. In contrast, the blackfin goosefish, which is found in the Caribbean waters down to Brazil, is two feet in length.

How fast can a monkfish swim?

The monkfish are known as slow swimmers. They are known to walk on the ocean's surface. The pectoral and ventral fin of the monkfish are well defined.

How much does a monkfish weigh?

The monkfish can weigh from 49.8-127 lb. Different species of monkfish are of different lengths and weights. The female monkfish are heavier and larger than the male monkfish.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female monkfish are known as monkfish, angelfish or devil fish.

What would you call a baby monkfish?

The baby monkfish are referred to as baby monkfish.

What do they eat?

Monkfish are known as vicious predators who ambush their prey and swallow them completely. Baby monkfish eat miniature zooplankton.  Adult monkfish eat other fish, other monkfish, crustaceans, mollusks, seabirds, and diving ducks. They are known as predators who will ambush any living creature, small or big, and swallow it.

Are they eaten by humans?

Monkfish is eaten by humans for the distinct taste of its meat. Monkfish is a staple in French cuisine. The tail and liver meat are edible and sold in markets. In the United States and Europe, cooking and fishing for monkfish is regarded as an important delicacy. This fish is best enjoyed with white wine. But the meat shrinks when cooking as it loses its moisture. However, their spiny head is not consumed by humans.

Would they make a good pet?

As per their looks and the behavior pattern, it isn't advisable to have them as pets. They are not only strange-looking creatures but are known as cunning predators. Their habitat, which is the ocean floor, may be difficult to mimic.

Did you know...

It is believed that monks would ask for any unused fish from the fishmongers. During those days, the monkfish was a byproduct, and the fishmongers would give it to the monks for free. Therefore it was named monkfish.

The monkfish is also known as 'allmouth' since 90% of its body is its large head and the major portion is its mouth. Monkfish are not poisonous either.

Monkfish occasionally travel to the surface to hunt large birds like puffins, grebes, cormorants, and loons.

Where are monkfish found?

Monkfish are found across the Indian ocean, Pacific ocean, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, and Mediterranean Sea. They are found in the coastal region of Europe, North America, Japan, China, and many such regions. The species of the monkfish may vary, but the fish is available on the ocean floor near most regions.

What does monkfish taste like?

Monkfish meat is known as the poor man’s lobster. It has a slightly sweet taste and a similar firm texture. They are also used in a variety of soups and other seafood delicacies. The yellow goosefish found on the coastline of Japan, China, and Korea, is served as a popular high-end dish in Japan.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including codfish, or milkfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Monkfish coloring pages.

Monkfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Shellfish, seabirds, diving ducks, and other monkfish

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Egg veils with up to a million eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

1-50 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

northern atlantic ocean, pacific ocean, indian ocean

Where Do They Live?

north and south america, europe, africa, china to japan

How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

1-4 ft







Scientific Name

Lophius americanus, lophius budegassa, lophius gastrophysus, lophius litulon, lophius piscatorius, lophius vaillanti, lophius vomerinus

What Do They Look Like?

Wide mouth, small pearl-like eyes and the pectoral fins look like wings

Skin Type

Smooth skin

What Are Their Main Threats?

fishing, swordfish, sharks and thorny skates

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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