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., Antennarius striatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2020,

Striate Anglerfish, Antennarius striatus (Shaw 1794)

More Info


Known in Australian waters from about Perth, south Western Australia, northwards throughout the Northern Territory, Queensland, and south eastern Victoria. Also at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea.

Elsewhere, the species is widespread in all tropical and subtropical seas of the world, except for the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Striate Anglerfish live in a range of environments from shallow estuaries to deeper reef areas to depths of about 220 m.

Most individuals inhabit in relatively shallow waters where they live on sandy, rocky or muddy bottoms, usually in areas with lots of sponges in depths from 1 – 219 m.


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


Antennarius is from the Latin, antenna meaning sensory organ on the head, in reference to the lure or modified first dorsal-fin spine. The species name striatus is from the Latin stria, meaning line, in reference to the striped colour pattern.

Species Citation

Lophius striatus Shaw 1794, The Naturalist's Miscellany 5: Pl. 175. Type locality: Tahiti.


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

Striate Anglerfish, Antennarius striatus (Shaw 1794)


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

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

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Allen, G.R., N.J. Cross, D.J. Bray & D.F. Hoese 2006. Antennariidae. pp. 637-646 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3 2178 pp.

Arnold, R.J. & T.W. Pietsch 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.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

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

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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

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. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Paxton, J.R., Hoese, D.F., Allen, G.R. & Hanley, J.E. (eds) 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Pisces: Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 7 665 pp.

Pietsch, T.W. 1984. The genera of frogfishes (family Antennariidae). Copeia 1984(1): 27-44 fig. 1

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 1397-2068 pp.

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Schultz, L.P. 1957. The frogfishes of the family Antennariidae. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 107(3383): 47-105 figs 1-7 pls 1-14 [as Phrynelox atra]

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.

Whitley, G.P. 1957. A new angler fish. Western Australian Naturalist 5(7): 207-209 1 fig. [as Antennarius glauerti]

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210009

Biology:Worm-like 'fishing lure'

Depth:2-219 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map