Striate Anglerfish, Antennarius striatus (Shaw 1794)

Other Names: Blotched Anglerfish, Hairy Frogfish, Striated Anglerfish, Striated Frogfish, Striped Angler, Striped Anglerfish, Striped Frogfish

A Striate Anglerfish, Antennarius striatus, displaying its worm-like lure, in Lembeh Straits, north Sulawesi, Indonesia, January 2016. Source: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-ShareAlike


An ambush predator with a very long lure that resembles a marine worm. Although individuals vary greatly in colour and form, most have zebra-like markings and skin covered in long filamentous appendages.

Fantastic footage of Striate Anglerfish spawning

A Striate Anglerfish (aka Hairy Frogfish) eating a flounder, Engyprosopon grandisquama.

A pair of Striate Anglerfish 'walking' over the seafloor in Indonesia.

Slow motion footage of a Striate Anglerfish feeding.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022, Antennarius striatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Striate Anglerfish, Antennarius striatus (Shaw 1794)

More Info


Perth, Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, throughout the Northern Territory, Queensland, and south to Merimbula, New South Wales; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, except for the eastern Pacific.

Inhabits environments ranging from shallow estuaries to deeper reefs at depths to about 220 m. Most individuals occur in relatively shallow waters where they live on sandy, rocky or muddy bottoms, usually in areas with lots of sponges.


Dorsal fin I, I, I, 11-12; Anal fin 7; Caudal fin 9; Pectoral fin 9-12 (rarely 9 or 12); Pelvic fin I, 5.

Esca with 2-7 elongate, cylindrical, worm-like appendages which may have a few filaments; bone supporting illicium extends in front of upper lip; skin with close-set bifurcated spinules, numerous cirri or small, slender, branched tentacles often present on head, body and fins.

Pectoral fins prehensile, with an ‘elbow-like’ joint; pelvic fins with a short, slender spine.


To 25 cm total length.


Colour highly variable, usually light yellow to orange, but also green, red, grey, brown, or almost white with dark-brown to black irregular zebra-like bands or elongate blotches.

Solid-black individuals have been known to change colour to the yellow-striped phase over a period of about 5 weeks.

Males usually have longer skin filaments and are more intensely coloured than females.

Colour in preservative: beige, light-yellow, orange, dark yellow-brown to black. The illicium is usually darkly banded, and the worm-like escal appendages are occasionally reddish pink. Lighter-color phases usually have a series of darkly pigmented streaks radiating from the eye. Belly without elongate markings but usually with scattered, dark circular spots. Solid-black color phase with tips of pectoral rays white.


Striate Anglerfish are ambush predators and feed mostly on other fishes. Their excellent camouflage allows them to hide amongst sponges where they lie almost motionless, only wriggling their worm-like fishing lure in front of the mouth. Unsuspecting fishes that approach to investigate the lure are rapidly engulfed.

Anglerfishes have enormous mouths and very expandable stomachs and can swallow very large prey items.

A Striate Anglerfish wriggling its lure.


The sexes are separate and females are usually larger than males. Fertilization is external, and females produce pelagic eggs in a transparent gelatinous floating 'scroll-shaped' mass or 'raft' where they remain embedded until hatching. Larvae remain in the plankton for one to two months before settling out onto the reef.


Although of no interest to fisheries, Striate Anglerfish are sometimes collected for sale in the aquarium industry.


Striate Anglerfish often live in deeper, darker waters than many other members of the family Antennariidae. To help attract prey in deeper habitats, the esca contains special secretory cells that release an olfactory stimulus attractive to other fishes.

Similar Species

Although Antennarius striatus is most similar to Antennarius hispidus, it differs in having a slightly shorter illicium and two or more worm-like appendages on the esca or lure. The esca or lure of A. hispidus is shaped like a pom-pom.


The specific name striatus is from the Latin stria (= line), in reference to the striped colour pattern of this species.

Species Citation

Lophius striatus Shaw 1794, The Naturalist's Miscellany 5: Pl. 175. Type locality: Tahiti, Society Islands [French Polynesia, South Pacific].


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Striate Anglerfish, Antennarius striatus (Shaw 1794)


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Shaw, G. & Nodder, F.P. 1794. The Naturalist's Miscellany, or coloured figures of natural objects; drawn and described from nature. London Vol. 5 pls 162–182, unnumbered pages. See ref at BHL

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210009

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-219 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map