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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Antennariidae
Spotted-tail frogfish
Lophiocharon trisignatus
Family Antennariidae
updated Oct 2019
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: To about 18cm, those seen range from tiny ones about 5cm long to large ones about 15cm long. It has pale translucent black-ringed spots on the tail fin. The body colour is highly variable. 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. It also has clasping pelvic fins on the underside of the body.

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.

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.

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

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!

Labrador, Jul 05

A lure that draws prey closer to the mouth

Pale translucent black-ringed spots.

Limb-like pectoral fins that resemble paws.

Clasping pelvic fins on the underside.

*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

Changi, Jun 08

The lure

Spots on tail.

Elbow and clasping 'paws'.

No scales, a loose prickly skin instead.

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

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

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

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

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

Cyrene Reef, Sep 10

Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

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 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.

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

Cyrene Reef, Sep 10

Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

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.



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