Common name: Frogfishes, Toadfishes

The order Batrachoidiformes contains a single family, the Batrachoididae, with about 70 species found in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.

These well-camouflaged ambush predators generally live on sandy and muddy bottoms in tropical and temperate environments. Most species live in shallow coastal waters, although some are found on the outer continental shelf.

Toadfishes have broad flattened heads, prominent eyes and fleshy barbels and flaps, often fringing the wide fleshy mouth. They also have pelvic fins far forward and two dorsal fins - the first a series of short, sharp spines followed by a long-based soft dorsal fin.

Members of one subfamily are bioluminsecent and have rows of photophores along their sides. Others have venomous spines and are capable of inflicting painful wounds.

Relationships of the order are discussed in Patterson & Rosen (1989) and Miya et al. (2005).

Author: Dianne J. Bray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Frogfishes, BATRACHOIDIFORMES in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/order/7

Order References

Allen, G.R., N.J. Cross & D.F. Hoese. 2006. pp. 629-632. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Part 1.

Collette, B.B. 1966. A review of the venomous toadfishes, subfamily Thalassophryninae. Copeia 1966(4): 846-864.

Greenfield, D.W. 1999. Family Batrachoididae, pp. 1999-2003. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (eds.) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3, 1397-2068 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 1976. A revision of the Australian frogfishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum 4(1): 3-43 figs 1-17

Hutchins, J.B. 1998. Toadfishes, pp. 135–136. In Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (eds.) Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press.

Miya, M., Satoh, T.P. & Nishida, M. 2005. The phylogenetic position of toadfishes (order Batrachoidiformes) in the higher ray-finned fish as inferred from partitioned Bayesian analysis of 102 whole mitochondrial genome sequences. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London 85(3): 289-306

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Patterson, C. & Rosen, D.E. 1989. The Paracanthopterygii revisited: order and disorder. Pp. 5-36, in Cohen, D.M. (ed.) Papers on the systematics of gadiform fishes. Science Series. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 32: 1-262

Smith, W.L. & W.C. Wheeler. 2006. Venom evolution widespread in fishes: a phylogenetic rode map for the bioprospecting of piscine venoms. J. Hered. 97(3):206-217.

Watson, W. 1996. Batrachoididae: toadfishes, midshipman. pp. 546-547. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current Region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 1505 p.