Marblemouthed Frogfish

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Lophiocharon lithinostomus - (Jordan & Richardson, 1908)
Marblemouthed Frogfish

An especially cryptic frogfish with skin appendages resembling macroalgae. © David Liebman


Frogfishes are slow moving creatures whose best defense against predators is their ability to be inconspicuous. Many, including this species, can blend into their surroundings and resemble algae or sponge-covered rock.

A cryptic appearance also aids them in being able to ambush passing fishes and crustaceans. Most have a modified spine tipped with an esca, a tuft that may resemble a tiny food item and that the frogfish waves in front of its mouth as a lure. (Note angling spine and esca clearly visible in photograph above.)

Family: Antennariidae

Other common name(s):

  • Marblemouthed Anglerfish

Native range:

Habitat: Sandy or coral rubble bottom with live rock crevices and caves.

Maximum length: 9.1 cm (4 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 76 L (20 gal)

Water: Marine 23 °C (73 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Carnivorous. Feed meaty foods three or four times per week. The use of a feeding stick to wave a piece of silverside or crustacean flesh in front of the frogfish may be necessary to trigger a feeding response until it becomes accustomed to taking non-live foods.

A frogfish will ingest surprisingly large live fish, even swallowing more than they can safely digest.

Aquarium Compatibility

Frogfishes have very capacious mouths and can attack and ingest large tankmates, including lionfishes. Do not attempt to keep with any fish, shrimp, or crab that might be ambushed and swallowed. They do best in a species aquarium where they can be closely observed and prevented from picking off all community members, one by one.

Reference: Reef Fishes Volume 1
Image credit: DL
Text credit: SWM