Notes of Interest...Frogfish, scientifically the family of Antennariidae or "antenna bearers" come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Scientists separate them in to 12 genera and just 44 known species. Color is not the way to distinguish species of frogfish. Although a frogfish can change its color, it takes a few days to a week to make the change. Instead the focus should be on the fishing rod or luring apparatus (illicium) and the actual lure or bait (esca). The illicium is actually an evolved first dorsal spine. Another interesting characteristic of this fish is the reversed order of its breast and belly fins. The powerful "rear feet" are actually the breast fins.
Frogfish are considered one of nature's most highly evolved "lie in wait predators". Most camouflaging in nature is a means to escape being preyed upon. The frogfish uses aggressive mimicry. By camouflaging itself to its surroundings, or in some cases as a feeding area, the frogfish preys upon unsuspecting fish and crustaceans. These sneaky voracious predators can increase the volume of its mouth to 12x its normal size. By engulfing prey with a reflex maneuver, a suction pressure can devour a fish twice the size of the frogfish. The frogfish has the fastest "gape and suck" ability of any fish, twice as fast as a scorpion or stone fish, at just 1/6000 of a second or 6msec.
Another reason the Sargassum Frogfish is special is that it's the only angler* that possesses a swim bladder, giving it the ability to swim. Other frogfish hop or gallop to move. All anglers are capable of quick bursts of movement by sucking in a large quantify of water through the mouth and forcing it through the gills.
For even more info and frogfish photos, check out Theresa Zubi's site: www.starfish.ch
*we are presently researching the issue of the Sargassum frogfish being the only angler with swimming abilities. Our experience with a Tassled Frogfish is that it's quite a capable swimmer. What a trip we had to find one of these! See our "From Our Travels...More Frogfish" page of this site.
page still under construction--bear with us while we get the Latin names in
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This page last updated on 04/20/2006
John and Sue were coming back from Ladder Bay in our dinghy when they spotted a bit of net on the surface. Looking to prevent a navigational hazard they threw the net in the dinghy and brought it in to the harbor. Once a net is in the water for sometime, it can become its own ecosystem; this one was full of weeds and a host of critters...so they were carefully picking off the various small crabs and shells to put back in the water when out plopped three Sargassum frogfish! They ran to Pop's Place and grabbed a big tub, filled it with seawater and put the remaining ecosystem including the frogfish in the tub. John then drove up to Windwardside to grab his camera rig. When he ran in to our house he gasped "you won't believe what we found!" His face was lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. No present could make John happier...once back at the harbor, they put the fish surrounded by the sargassum weed back in the water. The fish remain with the weed, floating on the surface, so that the photo seen is shot in the fish's natural environment...fish and weeds then floated back out to sea...
Another member of the Sargassum weed camo club is the Sargassum Pipefish which I haven't found yet. However, the above photo of a nudibranch is just another example of what can be found when you look closely.
I'm not normally fond of generic set up shots in a wide angle format. But the the opportunity to capture Lynn hovering over a frogfish at Outer Limits was just too tempting a shot. I specifically took it with plenty of blue water above and said "this is how you shoot a cover shot". We submitted our first ever article to Dive Magazine in the UK. When the magazine arrived we were a bit disappointed how they edited our story on Saba to be only 3 paragraphs. But once we took another look, I realized, my photo was the cover shot! My first attempt at publication only paid 50 pounds sterling but was a great boost to my confidence.
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