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Antennarius maculatus

This week’s Fish of the Week can be most aptly described as a ninja, with surprising speed and a relatively small size of 15cm (6 inches) in length. The wartskin angler (or, more commonly, the warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus)) has evolved a camouflage which mimics the colours and shapes of coral species (and as such can be found in an enormous variety of colours), and spends its time moving as little as possible to fulfil the role of the character. When it does move, like other members of the frogfish family, they walk along the seabed rather than swimming. But don’t be fooled by its apparently sluggish behaviour; the wart-skinned angler is an ambush predator. With lightning reflexes and an appetite to match, this seemingly small, stumbling fish can eat prey up to twice its size, but will more commonly eat creatures smaller than itself for convenience. If you do decide to add a specimen to your aquarium, ensure you have no small fish or shrimp or be prepared for their inevitable, not-so-mysterious disappearance. With its unusual, comical appearance, and its unexpected but inspired lifestyle, the wartskin angler is our Fish of the Week and would make a great addition to an appropriate marine tank. I’m certainly sold on these guys, but are you?

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Image courtesy of ilan Lubitz.

Tagged in: Fish of the Week Archive - Freshwater, Fish of the Week Archive - Marine