Sargassum Fish, Histrio histrio (Linnaeus 1758)


Other Names: Marbled Angler, Mouse Fish, Sargassum Anglerfish, Sargassum Frogfish, Sargassumfish, Sargassum-fish

A Sargassum Fish, Histrio histrio, on a mooring rope at Tufi Wharf, Bootless Bay, Papua New Guinea, January 2003, depth 3 m. Source: Dave Harasti / http://www.daveharasti.com/. License: All rights reserved

Summary:

Superbly camouflaged anglerfishes covered in fleshy weed-like appendages and filaments to resemble algal fronds and branches. They usually live amongst floating mats of Sargassum algae out in the open ocean. Individuals use their arm-like pectoral fins to clamber over the seaweed.

Sargassum Fish range in colour from shades of pale yellow to brown, with irregular lines, blotches and spots to resemble their seaweed home. 

Video of a Sargassum Fishambushing unsuspecting prey.

Life in the Sargassum


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2018, Histrio histrio in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Oct 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3837

Sargassum Fish, Histrio histrio (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Distribution

Circumglobal in all tropical and subtropical seas except most of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Sargassum Fish are known in Australian waters from Rockingham, Western Australia,  around the tropical north to Bar Beach, Merimbula in southern New South Wales.

Although found in macroalgae in a range of habitats in depths to 50 m, unlike other antennariids, Sargassum Anglerfish are usually pelagic and live amongst floating mats of Sargassum algae in the open ocean. Several individuals including juveniles may live in the same algal mat. Individuals have also occasionally been found in association with other algae and seagrasses in coastal environments such as mangroves.

Features

Dorsal fin I+I+I, 11-13, Anal fin 7-13.

Illicium much shorter than 2nd dorsal-fin spine, esca globe-shaped with short filaments. Pectoral fin arm-like, fin base long and free from body for most of its length. Skin smooth, without dermal spinules; head, body and fins with numerous fleshy appendages.

Size

To 16 cm TL.

Colour

Colour variable to match the floating Saragassum macroalgae in which it usually lives, ranging from pale cream to yellow, mottled green and brown.

Feeding

These voracious ambush predators feed on other fishes and crustaceans that seek refuge amongst floating Sargassum algae.

Biology

The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Females lay pelagic eggs in a gelatinous scroll or ribbon-like raft attached to the floating Sargassum. Larvae are pelagic.

Post-flexion and settlement stage larvae have been described.

Fisheries

Sargassum Fish are popular with aquarists, and are also taken as bycatch in subsistance fisheries.

Conservation


Remarks

Sargassum fish have a very unusual strategy to avoid predators - jumping out of the water onto the floating Sargassum when disturbed, remaining there for a while before jumping back into the water.

Species Citation

Lophius histrio Linnaeus 1758, Systema naturae I: 237. Type locality: unknown.

Author

Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Sargassum Fish, Histrio histrio (Linnaeus 1758)

References


Adams, J.A. 1960. A contribution to the biology and postlarval development of the sargassum fish, Histrio histrio (Linnaeus), with a discussion of the Sargassum complex. Bulletin of Marine Science 10: 55-82.

Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Arnold, R.J. & Pietsch, T.W. 2012. Evolutionary history of frogfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae): a molecular approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62: 117-129.

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Gorelova, T.A. & Fedoryako, B.I. 1986. Topic and trophic relationships of fishes associated with drifting Sargassum algae. Journal of Ichthyology 26(2): 63-72.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

 Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762

Kobyliansky, S., Munroe, T. & Costa, M. 2015. Histrio histrio. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190183A44740018. Downloaded on 13 June 2018.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels - Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 302 pp.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundem classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Tomus I 824 pp.

Moser, HG; Richards, WJ; Cohen, DM; Fahay, MP; Kendall, Jr, AW; Richardson, SL (eds.) 1984 Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Special Publication 1, Lawrence,KS. 760 pages.

Mosher, C. 1954. Observations on the spawning behavior and the early larval development of the sargassum fish, Histrio histrio (Linnaeus). Zoologica 39: 141-152.

Leis, JM & Carson-Ewart, BM (eds.) 2000. The larvae of the Indo-Pacific coastal fishes. An identification guide to marine fish larvae. Brill, Leiden. 850 pp.

Okiyama, M. (ed.) 1988. An Atlas of the Early Stage Fishes in Japan. Tokai University Press, Tokyo. 1154 pages. [In Japanese]

Pietsch, T.W. 1999. Families Antennariidae, Tetrabrachiidae, Lophichthyidae. pp. 2013-2019 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

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

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Rasquin, P. 1958. Ovarian morphology and early embryology of the pediculates fishes Antennarius and Histrio. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 114(4): 331–371.

Whitley, G.P. 1927. Angler Fishes. Australian Museum Magazine 3(3): 103-107

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37210025

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-50 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Floating Sargassum algae; oceanodromous

Max Size:16 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map