Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Echinophryne crassispina</I> holotype

Echinophryne crassispina holotype


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CAAB: 37210000


Angler Fishes, Anglerfishes, Frogfishes, Sea Mice, Shore Anglerfishes

Compiler and date details

7 May 2015 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese, Gerald R. Allen & Norbert J. Cross

24 March 2012 - Dianne J. Bray, Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross & Douglass F. Hoese


Antennariids are mainly confined to shallow tropical and subtropical seas, with a number of Australian species occuring in temperate waters. The family now includes 49 species and is represented in Australia by 27 species, referred to 11 genera, many of which are endemic. Here we follow Pietsch (1981) in placing Lophichthys boschmai in the famliy Lophichthyidae. The genus Tetrabrachium has also been removed from the Antennariidae and placed in the family Tetrabrachiidae following Pietsch (2005).

Anglerfishes are small, cryptic fishes well known for their ability to attract prey with their 'fishing lures': the modified first dorsal spine forms a slender 'fishing rod' with an enticing bait or lure at its tip, that sometimes resembles a marine worm, a shrimp or a small octopus. The bait is waved to and fro until an unsuspecting victim approaches. Once in close range, the victim is quickly engulfed. Species found in southern Australia produce large demersal eggs that are protected by the male until they hatch. Pietsch & Grobecker (1980) reported the unusual spawning habits of Lophiocharon trisignatus (as Antennarius caudimaculatus) in which a cluster of relatively large eggs is deposited on the skin of the male who carries them in this position until hatching. The maximum size of the Australian species ranges from about 15 to 25 cm standard length.

The family was revised extensively by Schultz (1957), but this work is considerably out of date. A generic classification of the shallow water anglerfishes was published by Pietsch (1984a). Pietsch (1984b) revised the Australian genus Rhycherus. Pietsch & Grobecker (1987) in their worldwide monograph included 43 species in 14 genera, and placed most species in the genus Antennarius. Arnold & Pietsch (2011) described a new species of Histiophryne from Queensland. Relationships were discussed by Pietsch (1984c) and Pietsch (1981) placed Tetrabrachium in a separate monotypic family and Lophichthys in the monotypic family Lophichthyidae. Pietsch (1999) treated species found in the Western Central Pacific. Pietsch (2008) treated species found in southern Australia. Arnold & Pietsch (2012) undertook a molecular phylogenetic study, recovering two major antennariid clades, the Antennariinae and the Histiophryninae, and moved a number of species from the genusAntennarius to Antennatus. Some species recorded from Lord Howe Island by Allen et al. (1975) could not be identified to species by Pietsch & Grobecker (1987).


General References

Arnold, R. & Pietsch, T.W. 2011. A new species of frogfish of the genus Histiophryne (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae) from Queensland, Australia. Zootaxa 2925: 63-68

Arnold, R.J. & Pietsch, T.W. 2012. Evolutionary history of frogfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae): A molecular approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62: 117-129

McCulloch, A.R. & Waite, E.R. 1918. Some new and little known fishes from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 1(1): 39-78 figs 26-31 pls 2-7 [pl. 6 (fig. 2)]

Pietsch, T.W. 1981. The osteology and relationships of the anglerfish genus Tetrabrachium with comments on lophiiform classification. Fishery Bulletin (U.S.) 79(3): 387-419 figs 1-41

Pietsch, T.W. 1984a. The genera of frogfishes (family Antennariidae). Copeia 1984(1): 27-44 fig. 1

Pietsch, T.W. 1984b. A review of the frogfish genus Rhycherus with the description of a new species from Western and South Australia. Copeia 1984(1): 68-72 figs 1-4

Pietsch, T.W. 1984c. Lophiiformes: development and relationships. pp. 320-325 figs 164-166 in Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760

Pietsch, T.W. 1999. Families Antennariidae, Tetrabrachiidae, Lophichthyidae. pp. 2013-2019 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Pietsch, T.W. 2005. Tetrabrachiidae. Tetrabrachium ocellatum. Four-armed frogfish. The Tree of Life Web Project, 28 October 2005.

Pietsch, T.W. 2008. Antennariidae. pp. 364-374 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Pietsch, T.W. & Grobecker, D.B. 1980. Parental care as an alternative reproductive mode in an antennariid anglerfish. Copeia 1980(3): 551-553 figs 1-2

Pietsch, T.W. & Grobecker, D.B. 1987. Frogfishes of the World: Systematics, Zoogeography, and Behavioral Ecology. Palo Alto : Stanford University Press 420 pp.

Schultz, L.P. 1957. The frogfishes of the family Antennariidae. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 107(3383): 47-105 figs 1-7 pls 1-14


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
25-Jun-2015 LOPHIIFORMES 22-Jun-2015 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
12-Feb-2010 (import)