These are a few of my favorite species: Painted Frogfish

available through CC via Flickr

Photo by prilfish. Available through CC via Flickr

Leaving alone on the seafloor is the lonely painted frogfish, Antennarius pictus. Males and females only come together for the dirty deed but quickly become intolerant of each other.  If the female stays too close, the male will eat the female…which in the whole evolutionary passing the genes to the next generation scenario seems like an idiotic move.  Besides this minimal contact, that could end in eating mate, the painted frogfish prefers the lonely life.

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Photo by Bernard DUPONT. Painted Frogfish (Antennarius pictus) Mabul SWV, Mabul, Sabah, Malaysia. Available through CC through Flickr

The painted frogfish goest through ridiculous lengths to be avoided by other.  Individuals can extent extend and retract individual parts of their globular body.  The skin itself is covered with warty protuberances and lots of little eye spots that look like the holes, ostia, in sponges.  Over weeks, a frogfish can also change the color and pattern of it skin.  A part of its camouflage regiment the fish will also allow algae to grow on it.  All this to look like a lump of sponge on the seafloor.

If you look closely you actually see the lure. Photo by Bernard DUPONT. Available through CC through Flickr.

If you look closely you actually see the lure. Photo by Bernard DUPONT. Available through CC through Flickr.

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Photo by Teresa Zubi. Available through CC through Flickr

Despite this derpy-sponge like appearance, the frogfish is actually a master predator.  When an unsuspecting prey swims close, because who in the hell can see the painted frogfish, the frogfish will flick a lure.  The lure, which occurs at the end of the elongated first dorsal spine, is even modified to look like a tiny fish.

Photo by prilfish. Available through CC through Flickr

Photo by prilfish. Available through CC through Flickr

Photo by Steve Childs Antennarius pictus - Painted FrogFish. Available through CC through Flickr

Photo by Steve Childs Antennarius pictus – Painted FrogFish. Available through CC through Flickr

Dr. M (1771 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


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