Hairy frogfish are covered in hairlike spines.
Hairy frogfish are covered in hairlike spines.
Photograph by Christopher Crowley, Visuals Unlimited, Inc., Getty Images

Hairy Frogfish

A fish swishes through the water just above a cluster of coral on the seafloor. Suddenly a hairy-looking, bloblike creature emerges from the coral, snags the fish in its mouth, and devours the snack. The bizarre being isn’t a mythical sea monster—it’s a hairy frogfish. And its appearance isn’t its only odd trait.

Common Name:
Hairy Frogfish
Scientific Name:
Antennarius striatus
Type:
Fish
Diet:
Carnivore
Size:
up to 8.7 inches
Weight:
up to 1.16 ounces

WALK IT OFF

The hairy frogfish is a type of fish that’s covered in spines. These spines, which resemble strands of hair, allow the marine animal to camouflage itself against coral and seaweed. Found mostly in warm waters around the world, the hairy frogfish can also change its color to blend in with its surroundings.

These animals may be excellent at hiding in plain sight. However they do something that really makes them stand out from a lot of other sea creatures. The fish—which usually grow about four inches long—don’t swim. Instead they walk on their wide fins along the seafloor as they look for snacks to eat.

GO FISH

When it comes to meals, hairy frogfish aren’t too picky. They chow down crustaceans and other fish such as flounder. These guys sometimes sneak up on their prey. But other times they make their prey come to them. Hairy frogfish have a special extra-long spine on their dorsal fins that looks like a worm. By waving this bait back and forth in front of their mouths, they can lure a target within striking distance. Talk about being put in a hairy situation!