Rodless Anglerfish, Histiophryne cryptacanthus (Weber 1913)

Other Names: Cryptic Anglerfish, Cryptic Frogfish

A Rodless Anglerfish, Histiophryne cryptacanthus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Histiophryne cryptacanthus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jan 2018,

Rodless Anglerfish, Histiophryne cryptacanthus (Weber 1913)

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Endemic to temperate waters of southern and south-western Australia, from Cape Donongton, South Australia to Lancelin Island, Western Australia. Rodless Anglerfish are bottom-dwellers, inhabiting inshore and offshore rocky reefs, often with sponges or ascidians at 5-130 m.


This small anglerfish grows to 9 cm.


Anglerfishes are well-camouflaged ambush predators, and usually rely on their fishing lure to attract unsuspecting prey. However, this is not the case with members of the genus Histiophryne. The illicium and esca of members this genus range from being absent to very small, and it has been suggested that these species actively stalk their prey.


The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Unlike most anglerfishes, female smooth anglerfish lay a cluster of large demersal eggs that are attached together. These eggs are brooded within a pocket or a curve created behind the pectoral fin by the curved body and tail and beneath the folded dorsal fin. An egg cluster laid by a 45 mmSl female contained about 115 eggs that measured 3.6 to 4.2 mm in diameter. Smooth Anglerfish eggs hatch into relatively large, advanced young.


Of no interest to fisheries.


Not evaluated


A remarkable and unusual new species, Histiophryne psychedelica Pietsch, Arnold & Hall 2009, was described from Ambon and Bali islands, Indonesia. Despite lacking a fishing lure and having a striking colour pattern and forward-facing eyes, molecular studies confirmed that this new species belongs to the genus Histiophryne.

Similar Species

Although Histiophryne cryptacantha is similar to the other Australian species in the genus Histiophryne, it gnerally lives in deeper waters to 130 m, and has a minute illicium. H. bougainvilli lives in shallow coastal waters to 6 m, and has a very small, but visible illicium.

Species Citation

Antennarius cryptacanthus Weber 1913, Sber. K. Akad. Wiss. Wien (Math. Nat. Kl.) 57: 564, pl. 3, fig. 2, Beo, Karakelang Island, East Indies (Indonesia).


Dianne J. Bray

Rodless Anglerfish, Histiophryne cryptacanthus (Weber 1913)


Allen, G.R., N.J. Cross, D.J. Bray & D.F. Hoese. 2006. Antennariidae, pp. 637-646. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. Fishes. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Part 1

Pietsch, T.W. 1984. The genera of frogfishes (family Antennariidae). Copeia 1984(1): 27-44.

Pietsch T.W. 1994. Family Antennariidae, pp. 285–297. In Gomon, M.F., C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (eds.) The fishes of Australia's south coast. State Print, Adelaide. 992 p.

Pietsch, T.W. 1999. Antennariidae: Frogfishes (also seamice, anglerfishes), p. 2013-2015, In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Batoid fishes, chimeras and bony fishes. Part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome.

Pietsch, T.W. 2008. Anternnariidae. In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. The Fishes of Australia’s Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, Australia.

Pietsch, T.W., R.J. Arnold & D.J. Hall. 2009. A bizarre new species of frogfish of the genus Histiophryne (Lophiiformes: Antennariidae) from Ambon and Bali, Indonesia. Copeia 2009(1): 37-45.

Pietsch, T.W. & D.B. Grobecker. 1987. Frogfishes of the World: Systematics, Zoogeography, and Behavioral Ecology. Stanford University Press, Stanford, xxii + 420 p.

Pietsch, T.W. & C.P. Kenaley. 2005. Antennariidae. Frogfishes. Version 01 November 2005 (under construction). in The Tree of Life Web Project,

Weber, M. 1913. Die Fische der Siboga-Expedition. Sber. K. Akad. Wiss. Wien (Math. Nat. Kl.) 57: 1-710 123 figs 12 pls.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210013

Depth:3-130 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9 cm

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