Physical Characteristics

Frogfishes (family Antennariidae) are somewhat similar to their monkfish relatives in that they have a large head on which are located several isolated dorsal fin spines; the pectoral fins appear armlike. They are strikingly different in that the head is globose and the body is flattened laterally (compressed) rather than dorsally (depressed). In addition, the second and third dorsal fin spines usually are surrounded by so much fleshy skin that it may be difficult to recognize them as fin spines. The second, or soft, dorsal and anal fins are much more conspicuous, and the soft dorsal is usually much longer than the anal fin. The sargassumfish is characterized by its very short angling apparatus and its smooth skin, which lacks the small, spiny scales or dermal spinules typical of most other frogfishes. Its color pattern is changeable and highly variable, but it is usually cryptic, consisting of streaks, spots, and mottling of brown, olive, and yellow, making it nearly impossible to detect among the sargassum weed in which it hides.

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