New Guinean Anglerfish, Antennarius dorehensis Bleeker 1859

Other Names: New Guinean Frogfish

A New Guinean Anglerfish, Antennatus dorehensis. Source: Teresa Zubi / License: All rights reserved

New Guinean Anglerfish are variable in colour, ranging from light gray, to yellow, brown and even black. The bony part of the first dorsal-fin spine (illicium) is shorter than the second dorsal-fin spine. The fishing lure (esca) is oblong or tapering and usually directed downwards. This small secretive species has a distinct caudal peduncle and lives on shallow coral reefs.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Antennarius dorehensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 May 2024,

New Guinean Anglerfish, Antennarius dorehensis Bleeker 1859

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Known from the tropical Western Pacific and southeastern Indian Ocean. In Australian waters, New Guinean Anglerfish have only been recorded from Rowley Shoals, north Western Australia, in depths of 1-3 m. This bottom-dwelling species inhabits shallow reef areas including crevices on intertidal reef flats.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin I+I+I, 11-13 (rarely 11 or 13); Anal fin 7-8 (rarely 8); Pectoral fin 8-10 (rarely 8 or 10)

Gill opening near to, or on pectoral-fin lobe; distinct caudal peduncle present; belly without large, darkly pigmented spots. Skin covered with close-set bifurcated spinules. Outermost margin of soft-dorsal and anal fins attached to body anterior to base of outermost caudal fin-rays; prehensile pectoral fins with an ‘elbow’ joint; pelvic fins with a short, with a slender spine and 5 soft rays, last ray of pelvic fin bifurcate. Bony part of illicium shorter than second dorsal spine; esca simple, oval-shaped or more elongate, and tapering, basal filaments and pigmented swellings absent; 2nd dorsal-fin spine slightly curved posteriorly.


To 7.5 cm.


Body colour variable, ranging from light grey, light yellow to dark brown and black, with many small whitish spots on head, body and pectoral-fin lobe. Fins dark violet to brownish grey. The median fins of darker individuals have pale edges. Faint spot at base of soft dorsal fin may be present or absent.

In preservative – light grey, brown to black with numerous small whitish/grey spots or patches over body. Tips of soft-dorsal and anal-fin rays, and distal half of pectoral-fin rays white and peppered with dark spots. Caudal fin with a conspicuious pale bar. Illicium unbanded. Short, pigmented bars radiating from eye weakly developed or absent.


New Guinean anglerfish are well-camouflaged ambush predators. They remain very still, waving their lure or esca in front of their mouth to attract unsuspecting prey, which are rapidly engulfed. 


Oviparous, with external fertilization. The eggs are laid in a floating gelatinous mass or egg raft where they remain embedded until the planktonic larvae hatch.


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


Not listed.


Although reportedly reaching a length of 7.5 cm, most individuals are less than 5 cm TL.

Similar Species

Although resembling Antennarius coccineus, A. dorehensis has a distinct caudal peduncle which is lacking in A. coccineus. A. dorehensis differs from A. sanguineus in lacking spots on its belly.


Antennarius is from the Latin, antenna meaning sensory organ, in reference to the modified first dorsal spine. The species name dorehensis is for the type locality, Doreh, New Guinea.

Species Citation

Antennarius dorehensis Bleeker 1859, Act. Soc. Sci. Indo-Neerl. 6: 21, Doreh, New Guinea.


Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

New Guinean Anglerfish, Antennarius dorehensis Bleeker 1859


Allen, G.R. 2006. Family Antennariidae. In Beesley PL & Wells A (eds.) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia Part 1, pp xxiv 1-670.

Bleeker, P. 1859. Bijdrage tot de kennis der vischfauna van Nieuw-Guinea. Act. Soc. Sci. Indo-Neerl. 6: 1-24.

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Checklist of the fishes of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement No. 63: 9-50.

Michael, S.W. 1998. Reef Fishes Volume 1. A Guide to Their Identification, Behaviour and Captive Care. Microcosm Ltd. Shellbourne, Vermont 624 pp.

Myers R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes: A Comprehensive Guide to the coral Reef Fishes of Micronesia. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Territory of Guam, USA. 330 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210019

Biology:fishing lure

Depth:1-3 m



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