Longlure Frogfish – Detail Page

CREDIT: Rudy van Gelderen

English Name: Longlure Frogfish

Scientific Name: Antennarius multiocellatus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Lophiiformes

Family: Antennariidae (Frogfish)

Genus: Antennarius

Other Names: Flagpole Frogfish


Conservation Status: 

  • IUCN Red List: classified as Least Concern.
  • CITES: not listed.
  • SPAW: not listed.

Island Status:

  • Common in the waters of all six Caribbean islands.


The average length of the long lure frogfish is 11 cm (~4.3″) with a maximum of 20 cm (~7.9″). It has a short round body with webbed pectoral and dorsal fins (they use these like hands to walk or hold something). The coloring varies depending on the frogfish’s environment as it takes on the color of the dominant sponge in its surrounding; it ranges from black to light yellow to red and even green. There are always black spots on the body, which are sometimes edged white.

Distinct features: 1) small eyes; 2) large upturned mouth; 3) very small gill openings; and 4) the first dorsal spine is not located on the back but on the snout; it looks like a long filament.

Life History

Longlure Frogfish prey mostly on fish, occasionally on crab and shrimp. They wait for prey while hiding in a sponge; then lure in prey by moving its illicium (elongated first spine on dorsal fin); they swallow the prey whole.

There is not much known about other life history aspects of this species. It is known that the female spawns several times throughout each spawning season and that thousands of eggs travel in a mucus mass called “egg raft”.

They prefer shallow reef areas where there are many sponges.

You can find them in tropical waters of the Atlantic ocean and Caribbean Sea, from Bermuda to South America.

Local Research and Conservation Efforts

The Longlure Frogfish is protected within the marine protected areas of all six Dutch Caribbean islands.

Did You Know?

  • This very odd-looking fish is hard to find because it looks so much like a sponge. It actually takes on the colour of the dominant sponge to hide away from predators.
  • The Longlure Frogfish has a very big mouth; it can swallow a fish that is bigger than itself!
  • The frogfish is very, very fast when it catches prey; it sucks in prey in about 1/6th of second. If you want to see the Longlure Frogish catch prey, make sure you bring along a high-speed camera.