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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 15:19 EDT

Psychedelic frogfish, Histiophryne psychedelica

The psychedelic frogfish is found only around Ambon Island, Indonesia at depths of 16 – 23 feet in coral rubble about 66 feet from the shoreline. This fish was discovered in 1992 amongst a shipment of assorted fish that was delivered to the Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park. But was not observed or photographed in the wild until 2008. The psychedelic frogfish was named one of the top ten new species discovered in 2009 by Arizona State University’s International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE).

This species coloration resembles a number of corals and it will camouflage itself amongst them, making it almost impossible to find. This will also protect the fish from predators. To move, the psychedelic frogfish will walk on the sea floor on its pectoral fins. It will also push itself off the bottom and shoot a stream of water out of its gills to propel itself. While this is being done, this fish will become ball shaped and resemble a bouncing ball along the sea floor.

The psychedelic frogfish can reach a length of six inches with the skin flesh-like, covered by a mucus, and has no scales. The color of this fish is a pale turquoise with yellowish brown or peach colored stripes. These markings are unique to each individual fish, like a fingerprint to humans, or the stripes on a zebra. The face of this species is flat with a small mouth and forward facing eyes. The cheeks and chin extend laterally and this species is able to expand the head and extend its mouth forward.

The diet of the psychedelic frogfish is primarily shrimp and small fish. While feeding this fish is likely to block passages in rocks and corals by squeezing itself into these openings and catch its prey. This behavior also acts as a defense against predators.

The female of this species will lay around 220 eggs and will wrap its fins and tail around the egg cluster for protection.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Lophiiformes

Family: Antennariidae

Image Credit: David Hall (seaphotos.com)/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Psychedelic frogfish Histiophryne psychedelica