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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Antennariidae
Spotted-tail frogfish
Lophiocharon trisignatus
Family Antennariidae
updated Sep 2020
Where seen? This rotund fish with a woeful expression is hard to spot. It looks just like an algae-covered stone. Rather large, it is probably quite common but often overlooked. It is sometimes seen on some of our shores, near coral rubble and reefs as well as among rocks in deeper waters near seagrasses. One was seen 'climbing' among long Tape seagrass, clinging on with its 'paws'.

Features: Those seen about 6-10cm long, can grow to 18cm. Distinguished by the pale translucent black-ringed spots on the tail fin. Body globular, colour is highly variable: usually mottled and matching the surroundings but also bright blue, orange, purple, green. Lacks scales and has a loose prickly skin instead. It waddles over the surface using its pectoral fins which have 'elbows' and ends in grasping 'paws' that can clutch bits of rubble. One was seen 'climbing' long seagrass with its 'paws'. It also has clasping pelvic fins on the underside of the body.

Fishing with a lure: Like others in the family, it has a lure at the top of the head to attract prey within striking distance. We have observed one frogfish 'suck' small fishes into its huge mouth simply by opening it. The frogfish itself didn't move towards the prey! The capture is so rapid that it's over in a blink of an eye. Some have white markings on the inside of the mouth, perhaps this also lures prey to come closer?

Sometimes mistaken for stonefish and scorpionfishes. Here's more on how to tell apart fishes that look like stones.

Changi, Jun 08

A lure that draws prey closer to the mouth

'Climbing' on Tape seagrass.
Pulau Semakau, Apr 11

Labrador, Jul 05

Clasping pelvic fins on the underside.

Frogfish Fathers: Lophiocharon species are known to brood and care for their eggs. It is believed that the female lays eggs directly onto the side of the male, the eggs attached by sticky threads. The father then look after the eggs by curling his body around the eggs, and folding his dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins over the egg mass to partially conceal them. One spotted-tail frogfish was seen to do that.

According to FishBase the father fish carries egg clusters attached to the side of his body, "either as brooding strategy or as aid in luring other fish for food". Motionless, his eggs will indeed look like a tasty snack on a stone. Any potential egg-snackers will of course be in danger of becoming a snack for papa frogfish!

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Spotted-tail frogfishes on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Beting Bronok, Jun 17
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

Beting Bronok, Jun 18
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


Changi Carpark 4, May 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Tanah Merah, Sep 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.


Sentosa Tg Rimau, Aug 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Sentosa Tg Rimau, Aug 20
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


Small Sisters Island, Jan 10
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

Big Sisters Island, May 13

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.


Pulau Hantu, Jan 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Sep 10

Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.



Cyrene Reef, Jun 08

Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on flickr.

Pulau Hantu, May 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Pulau Hantu, May 19
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook

Pulau Hantu, Jul 20

Photo shared by Dayna Cheah on facebook..


Terumbu Raya, Feb 09

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau, Mar 08
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her flickr.


Terumbu Raya, Jul 11
Photo shared by Lok Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Raya, Jun 15

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.


Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Jun 20
Photo shared by Kelvin Yong on facebook.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Sep 14
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

frog fish @ terumbu raya 09Feb2009 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.


frogfish from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.


Links

References

  • Tan Heok Hui. 29 August 2014. Egg brooding behaviour of the spot-tail frogfish, Lophiocharon trisignatus. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2014; 237-238.
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