The frogfish seem to come out of hibernation. Finally, one is to see again in El Gilwa. Thanks to Udo for the photos!
Since the movie “Finding Nemo” many people imagine frogfishes as a monster in the depth of the sea. In the film, deep sea anglerfish was used as an example, who lives in 200m to 4000m depth and are 6cm to 1.20m long. But we divers meet the frogfish in shallow waters where they look not so grim and are about 40cm long maximum.
Frogfishes have bulbous bodies, elbow-like pectoral fins that are used like arms and a large upturned mouth. The first dorsal spine is modified into a fishing pole tipped with a lure which may look like a small worm, fish or shrimp. The esca is flicked enticingly above the mouth to attract prey that is sucked up with an explosive sound.
Frogfishes have loose prickly skin which may be adorned with fleshy or filamentous appendages. They may be brightly coloured or drab and mimic sponges and other bottom features by means of their cryptic coloration (it takes some days till weeks till they change their colour). This combined with long periods of stillness makes them almost invisible to predators and divers as well as prey. Adult animals can inflate their stomach with water or air like the pufferfish.