Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Antennarius ocellatus

Ocellated frogfish

Ocellated frogfish, Antennarius ocellatusOcellated frogfish, Antennarius ocellatus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Antennarius: From Latin, antenna, antemna = sensory organ

General Notes:

While the frogfish wont harm corals, they will eat any fish or crustaceans that passes by them making them unsafe for a typical reef environment. They have an amazing ability to feed on fish larger then their own bodies. Like most frogfish the longlure frogfish comes in a great variety of colours such as yellow, red, pink, brown, grey, blue and orange. These colours help camouflage if the fish as it sits on top of sponges. The black spots all over the fishes body mimics the vents in sponge matter. Their camouflage makes it very difficult to see this fish in it's natural habitat. The most interesting feature about members of the frogfish family is their modified illicium which acts like a lure to attract other fish to it. The illicium is the first spine of the dorsal fin. The fish can control the lure causing it to wiggle just in front of it's mouth so that any fish coming to investigate will be in the perfect position for the efficient hunter to catch. Like human anglers, if the fish is unable to attract prey in one area it will move to a potentially better fishing spot.

Ocellated frogfish are carnivores they will eat any fish or crustacean it can catch. They should be fed larger pieces of meaty foods such as silversides and krill. They may need live foods at first until they can be trained to accept prepared foods. Feed 2 to 4 times a week.

There are no visible differences between male and female frogfish. Like other frogfish, they have a unique breeding strategy. The eggs are encapsulated in a buoyant mass of mucus referred to as an "egg raft". This allows the mass of eggs to float over large distances before the fry are ready to hatch. There have been no reports of successful breeding in captivity.

The state of the wild population of ocellated frogfish has not been evaluated.

Information at a glance

pH: 8.1 - 8.4
dGH: 8 - 12
Salinity: 1.021 - 1.025
Temperature: 23 - 27°C (74 - 80°F)
Diet: Carnivore
Size: 20cm (8in)
Min tank size: 140 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Species
Swimming level: Bottom

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Ocellated frogfish, Antennarius ocellatus

Origin: Western Atlantic: North Carolina, USA to Venezuela, including eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico and continental coastal regions of the Caribbean Sea, with a single record from the Bahamas. Northwest Atlantic: Canada

Habitat: Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 500 m


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Family: Antennariidae
Genus: Antennarius
Species: A. ocellatus

Common name:
Ocellated frogfish

Synonyms: Lophius histrio ocellatus, Antennarius ocellatus