Frogfish of Sodwana Bay

Run Ride Dive News
Frogfish in Sodwana Bay

Frogfishes are so called due to their habit of “hopping” along the reef. They are also called Anglerfishes due to their “fishing rod” that they use to lure prey. The “fishing rod” is actually a specially adapted dorsal fin called an illicium which has a little lure at the end of it called an esca. Both can be regrown if lost.

The frogfish has no scales and its skin can stretch so that the fish can swallow prey twice its own size. The frogfish wiggles its lure at approaching fishes and when they are close enough, opens its mouth, sucks the fish into its stomach, closes its mouth and expels excess water. This process of swallowing its prey takes 6 milliseconds (that is six one thousands of a second).

Their unusual shape, colour, and skin textures disguise frogfish. Some resemble stones or coral while others imitate sponges, or sea squirts with dark splotches instead of holes. Most species are free-spawning, with females laying the eggs in the water and males coming in behind to fertilize them.

Frogfish typically feed on crustaceans and fish (including their own species). Seven species of frogfish have been identified in Sodwana Bay. Although believed to be poor swimmers we have seen them swimming very comfortably over long distances. They are capable of changing colour to fit in with their environment hence making them extremely difficult to spot by divers.

Conditions have improved dramatically in Sodwana over the last week. Seas are flat with visibility of 20m and water temperature of 25°C. it is currently raining but the sunshine should be back tomorrow.

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