Histiophryne is a genus of frogfishes found in waters ranging from Taiwan to South Australia. There are currently five known species. These fishes are easily distinguished from other anglerfishes as having a reduced (or missing) luring appendage, a highly evolved form of the first dorsal fin spine.

Psychedelic frogfish 08Am6A1b.jpg
Psychedelic Frogfish (Histiophryne psychedelica)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Family: Antennariidae
Subfamily: Histiophryninae
Genus: Histiophryne
T. N. Gill, 1863


General Body PlanEdit

Frogfishes have a short, spherical body that is laterally compressed.[1] They have a large mouth that further enlarges when attacking prey.[1][2] Their fins are similar to legs and are jointed.[1] The ends of the anal and dorsal fins of Histiophryne spread past the bottom of the caudal fin and the tail is frequently curved against the body.[3] Histiophryne have a swim bladder, 20 to 23 vertebrae, and can have raised bumps of skin on the body.[4] They do not have an epural, pseudobranch, caudal peduncle, or dent between the second and third spines.[1]

Dorsal SpinesEdit

Frogfishes have three developed spines on the top of their head. The second and third spines of organisms in the genus Histiophryne look like small bumps because they are attached to the surface of the head with skin.[1] The first spine, the illicium, is found near the snout and is used by frogfish to lure prey.[5] The spine ends with a fleshy tip called the esca.[2] In Histiophryne, the size of the illicium is significantly smaller, frequently covered by skin, and not banded.[3][4] The esca may be absent in some species of Histiophryne, including H. pogonius and H. psychedelica.[4] If present, the esca is hard to differentiate it from the illicium due to its small size.[1][4]

Dermal SpinulesEdit

The dermal spinules may or may not be present on species of the genus Histiophryne. If the spinules are present, they are very small and far apart from each other. The illicium does not have any dermal spinules.[1]


Frogfishes are sedentary creatures, preferring to wait for prey on the seafloor,[6] but can use a few different methods to move around. They can walk along the seafloor with their pelvic and jointed pectoral fins as well as swim through the water.[5][7] They have two fundamental walks which resemble the stride of tetrapods.[4] Their ability to walk has been used as evidence for the evolution of fins to limbs within the ocean.[8] When moving longer distances, the frogfish will swim using one of three methods: subcarangiform swimming, jet propulsion, or “kick-and-glide.” In subcarangiform swimming, the frogfish will keep its fins close to its body and move the body and caudal fin in a back and forth motion.[4] In jet propulsion, the frogfish will inhale a substantial amount of water into its mouth and push it out through its gills. This quick emission of water will move the frogfish forwards. In “kick-and-glide” swimming the frogfish will combine three methods of propulsion to quickly escape predators. The frogfish uses jet propulsion, moves the caudal fin three to five times, and moves the pectoral fins once. Then the frogfish glides by pressing its fins into the body.[4]


Frogfishes camouflage with their surroundings and wait for prey to approach.[1][7] Frogfishes use their lure to entice prey to come closer, however the illicium is too small in the genus Histiophryne to lure prey.[4] If the prey – even one slightly larger than the frogfish – is close enough, the frogfish will enlarge its mouth and use suction feeding to swallow its prey in a matter of milliseconds.[7][9] The frogfish will eat a wide variety of prey and is unselective when it comes to their diet. They have even been found to eat their own kind. The frogfish will reject the prey if it is too big or becomes stuck in its mouth.[4]


The genus Histiophryne has oval-shaped ovaries and lacks a larval stage.[4] Offspring go through parental care and direct development, hatching as relatively large juveniles.[4][5] The parents carry a small amount of large eggs in an egg cluster, which is held in a pocket. The parent wraps its tail around its body to form this pocket, which is found between the body, pectoral fin, and tail.[4]


There are currently five recognized species in this genus:[10][11]


The genus Histiophryne is found in primarily shallow water within the Indo-Australian Archipelago.[5] The genus is found in the waters surrounding Taiwan, the Philippines, the Maluku Islands, and the southern coast of Australia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pietsch, Theodore W. (1984-02-23). "The Genera of Frogfishes (Family Antennariidae)". Copeia. 1984 (1): 27–44. doi:10.2307/1445032. JSTOR 1445032.
  2. ^ a b Pietsch, Theodore W.; Grobecker, David B. (1990). "Frogfishes". Scientific American. 262 (6): 96–103. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0690-96. ISSN 0036-8733. JSTOR 24996833.
  3. ^ a b Arnold, Rachel J.; Pietsch, Theodore W. (October 2018). "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A New Species of the Frogfish Genus Histiophryne Gill (Lophiiformes: Antennariidae: Histiophryninae) from Western and South Australia, with a Revised Key to Congeners". Copeia. 106 (4): 622–631. doi:10.1643/CI-18-112. ISSN 0045-8511. S2CID 92088859.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Pietsch, Theodore W. (2020). Frogfishes : biodiversity, zoogeography, and behavioral ecology. Baltimore. ISBN 978-1-4214-3253-3. OCLC 1129443278.
  5. ^ a b c d Arnold, Rachel J.; Pietsch, Theodore W. (January 2012). "Evolutionary history of frogfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae): A molecular approach". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 62 (1): 117–129. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.09.012. PMID 21985964.
  6. ^ Carnevale, Giorgio; Pietsch, Theodore W.; Bonde, Niels; Leal, Maria E. C.; Marramà, Giuseppe (2020-03-03). "† Neilpeartia ceratoi , gen. et sp. nov., a new frogfish from the Eocene of Bolca, Italy". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 40 (2): e1778711. doi:10.1080/02724634.2020.1778711. ISSN 0272-4634. S2CID 222210329.
  7. ^ a b c Harasti, David (March 2021). "Frogfishes: Biodiversity, Zoogeography and Behavioural Ecology Theodore W.Pietsch and Rachel J.Arnold Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 586 pp. ISSN : 978‐1‐4214‐3252‐6". Journal of Fish Biology. 98 (3): 898. doi:10.1111/jfb.14636. ISSN 0022-1112. S2CID 233785332.
  8. ^ Pierce, S. E.; Hutchinson, J. R.; Clack, J. A. (2013-08-01). "Historical Perspectives on the Evolution of Tetrapodomorph Movement". Integrative and Comparative Biology. 53 (2): 209–223. doi:10.1093/icb/ict022. ISSN 1540-7063. PMID 23624864.
  9. ^ De Brauwer, Maarten; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A. (December 2016). "Stars and stripes: biofluorescent lures in the striated frogfish indicate role in aggressive mimicry". Coral Reefs. 35 (4): 1171. doi:10.1007/s00338-016-1493-1. ISSN 0722-4028. S2CID 43673446.
  10. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). Species of Histiophryne in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  11. ^ a b Arnold, R.J. (2012). "A new species of frogfish of the genus Histiophyrne (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae) from Lombok and Komodo, Indonesia." Zootaxa 3253: 62-68.
  12. ^ Arnold, R.J. & Pietsch, T.W. (2011). "A new species of frogfish of the genus Histiophryne (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae) from Queensland, Australia." Zootaxa 2925: 63-68.