Rosy Anglerfish, Antennarius rosaceus Smith & Radcliffe 1912

Other Names: Pink Anglerfish, Rosy Anglerfish, Rosy Frogfish, Spinytufted frogfish

Rosy Anglerfish, Antennarius rosaceus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


Rosy Anglerfish are usually pinkish-purple in colour, with a conspicuous dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin and a fine reticulated pattern over the body. The first dorsal-fin spine or illicium (“fishing rod”) is distinctly longer than the 2nd dorsal-fin spine which is also long and slender with series of filamentous clusters along its length. The esca or lure is a small bulb with a tuft of long spiny filaments. This small tropical species lives on sponges and occurs as far south as Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Antennarius rosaceus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Rosy Anglerfish, Antennarius rosaceus Smith & Radcliffe 1912

More Info


Known from the Red Sea and the tropical Western Pacific, including Indonesia and the Philippines, eastwards to the Marshall Islands and Samoa, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia and Australia. In Australian waters, Rosy Anglerfish have been recorded from Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, and the North West Shelf, Western Australia.

Rosy Anglerfish live amongst sponges on coral reefs and seaward reef flats at 1–130 m.


Meristics: D III, 12-13 (rarely 13); A 7-8 (rarely 8); P 9-10 (rarely 9).

Head and body: the gill opening is near to or on the pectoral-fin lobe. Rosy Anglerfish have a distinct caudal peduncle and the posterior margins of the dorsal and anal fins are attached to the body well-before the base of outermost caudal-fin rays.

Body covering: Scales are absent and the skin is covered in close-set bifurcated spinules.

Fins: The illicium or first dorsal-fin spine is distinctly longer than the 2nd dorsal-fin spine. The esca or lure is elongate, tapering with several slender filaments and a cluster of darkly pigmented, spherical swellings at the base. The 2nd dorsal-fin spine is straight, narrow, and tapering, with a series of small filamentous clusters along its length. The pectoral fins are prehensile with an elbow-like joint. The pelvic fins have a short, slender spine and 5 soft rays, last ray bifurcate (divided).


To 5.8 cm SL.


The upper part of the head and body is pinkish-purple, tan to yellowish brown below the mouth, and the belly and fins have small reddish-brown to brown spots. The spot at the base of the soft dorsal fin is a conspicuous black, encircled with yellowish-brown ring; belly without large, darkly pigmented spots.

In preservative: light tan, grey, light yellow, to brown (usually somewhat lighter on belly) often with scattered, dark spots, blotches or fine mottling over entire head and body. Fins usually with few small scattered spots, heavily peppered with dark spots in some specimens. Basidorsal spot dark brown to black; illicium usually banded; short, darkly pigmented bars radiating from eye present or absent.


Rosy 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 scroll-shaped mass or egg raft where they remain embedded until the planktonic larvae hatch.


Rosy anglerfish are occasionally collected for sale in the Aquarium Industry.


Not evaluated.


Rosy Anglerfish are rare in Australian waters and most have been collected in depths above 55 m.

Similar Species

Although Antennarius rosaceus is similar to A. nummifer, it differs in being smaller in size and in having a very long illicium that is distinctly longer than its 2nd dorsal spine and much longer than the illicium of A. nummifer.

Species Citation

Antennarius rosaceus Smith & Radcliffe 1912, Proc. US. Natl. Mus. 42(1896): 203, pl. 17, fig. 2, Romblon, Philippine Islands.


Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

Rosy Anglerfish, Antennarius rosaceus Smith & Radcliffe 1912


Allen, G.R. (2006). Family Antennariidae, pp. 637-646. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia, Part 1, pp xxiv 1-670.

Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pac. Sci. 47(2):136-170.

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, Territory of Guam, U.S.A. 330 pp.

Pietsch, T.W. (1984). The Genera of Frogfishes (Family Antennariidae). Copeia 1984(1): 27-44.

Pietsch, T.W. 1999. Antennariidae, 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. v. 3: iii-vi + 1398-2068, I-IV.

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

Smith, H.M. & Radcliffe, L. (1912), in Radcliffe, L. New pediculate fishes from the Philippine Islands and contiguous waters.Proc. US. Natl. Mus. 42(1896): 199-214, figs 1-3, pls 16-27.

Randall, J.E. (2005). Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawai´I Press, Honolulu. 707 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210021

Biology:"Fishing lure" on head

Depth:1-130 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:7.5 cm

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