Whitespotted Anglerfish, Phyllophryne scortea (McCulloch & Waite 1918)

Other Names: Smooth Anglerfish, Smooth Frogfish, White-spotted Anglerfish

Yellow form of the Whitespotted Anglerfish, Phyllophryne scortea. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A small, somewhat compressed, deep-bodied anglerfish, with fleshy appendages scattered over the smooth skin, and the illicium (‘fishing rod’) tipped with an oval esca or lure with several filaments. The 2nd and 3rd dorsal-fin spines are embedded in thick skin.

Colour ranges from green, yellow, orange, brown to dark grey or black, often with whitish patches or spots.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Phyllophryne scortea in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3840

Whitespotted Anglerfish, Phyllophryne scortea (McCulloch & Waite 1918)

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia, from Green Cape, New South Wales, and Cape Naturaliste, Tasmania, to off the Houtmans Abrolhos, Western Australia.

Whitespotted anglerfish inhabit rocky reefs in bays, estuaries and coastal environments, often sheltering under rocks and amongst sponges in depths to 44 m.


Dorsal fin I+I+I,15-16; Anal fin 7-9; Caudal fin 9; Pectoral fin 10-12; Pelvic fin 5.

Body short, deep, tail base absent; skin smooth with scattered fleshy appendages; illicium ('fishing rod') tipped with an oval appendage (esca) with several filaments. 


To 10 cm.


Whitespotted anglerfish are well-camouflaged to match sponges and encrusting algae.


Carnivore - an ambush predator that attracts prey with the 'fishing lure' on the head.


The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Females lay large demersal onto rocky surfaces. The eggs are attached together by fine filaments. The male partners guard the developing eggs by wrapping them in a 'pocket' formed between their body and tail.


Of no interest to fisheries.

Species Citation

Histiophryne scortea McCulloch & Waite, 1918, Rec. South Aust. Mus. 1(1): 74, pl. 7, fig. 2. Type locality: Stansbury, Gulf St Vincent, South Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Whitespotted Anglerfish, Phyllophryne scortea (McCulloch & Waite 1918)


Arnold, R.J. & T.W. Pietsch 2012. Evolutionary history of frogfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes: Antennariidae): A molecular approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62: 117-129.

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

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.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.

McCulloch, A.R. & Waite, E.R. 1918. Some new and little known fishes from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 1(1): 39-78 figs 26-31 pls 2-7

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

Pietsch, T.W. 1994. Family Antennariidae. pp. 285-297 figs 254-264 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Pietsch, T.W. 2008. Antennariidae. pp. 364-374 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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

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

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210015

Depth:1-44 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm

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