Frogfish spotted on a night dive (photo 13A)

This highly unusual predator is a type of anglerfish, commonly known in this case as a "frogfish". I found it diving off a vertical wall in about 35 feet of water, during a night dive at one of the
Capone Islands. The frogfish was perfectly motionless as I passed by, looking for small subjects (this fish is about 5 inches long). At first, I didn't notice it, since its reddish-orange color blended well with the surrounding orange sponges. Luckily I was scanning the reef carefully, paying close attention as the beam from my dive light passed a second time. I noticed the frogfish and took a series of shots it crawled at an almost imperceptible pace across the reef wall.

Anglerfish get their name from their use of a specialized fleshy appendage it may wiggle like a fishing lure to assist in attracting prey (this specimen has its lure positioned directly between the eyes). As with many anglerfish, this specimen is also a master of disguise, enabling it to surprise its prey. When a victim fish passes in range, it lunges with surprising speed to engulf its prey in one gulp.

Antennarius coccineus

related link: 
Coral Reef Alliance page, June 2002: Masters of Disguise: the Amazing, Almost Invisible Frogfish

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