Frogfish, Antennarius sp., larva

Frogfish, Antennarius sp., larva

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Credit: Dante Fenolio/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Frogfish, Antennarius sp., are some of the most cryptic predators found on tropical reefs around the world. Many frogfish have markings that blend them in perfectly with the corals, sponges, and coraline algaes comprising tropical reefs. The disguise hides them from potential predators and potential prey. Frogfish have a fishing pole-like structure, the illicium, that emerges from their head and can be rocked back and forth (a modified fin ray). At the end of the pole is a structure known as an esca. The esca is the equivalent of a lure, which attracts small prey by mimicking a potential food item like a shrimp or small fish. The potential prey are drawn to within striking distance of the frogfishs' cavernous mouth, which is opened rapidly, drawing in water and the prey item. Larval anglerfishes are enveloped in a jelly casing. This is a larvae from the family Antennariidae. It was trawled up in the Gulf of Mexico, 2016. Image courtesy of the DEEPEND project.

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Keywords: aggressive mimicry, angler, angler fish, anglerfish, animal, antennariidae, bathydemersal, bathypelagic, camouflage, cryptic predator, esca, fauna, fish, frogfish, gulf of mexico, illicium, imature, juvenile, larvae, larval, lure, mesopelagic, nekton, pelagos, wildlife

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