Tuberculate Anglerfish, Antennatus tuberosus (Cuvier 1817)

Other Names: Pygmy Angler, Pygmy Frogfish, Tuberculated Anglerfish, Tuberculated Frogfish

A Tuberculate Anglerfish, Antennatus tuberosus, at Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. Source: Jeanette Johnson / FishBase. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial


A tropical anglerfish without a distinct tail base and with distinctive banding on the anal and caudal fins. The first dorsal-fin spine (illicium) is longer than the 2nd dorsal-fin spine and lacks a lure or esca to attract prey. This small species often hides amongst coral branches.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J, Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Antennatus tuberosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Sep 2020,

Tuberculate Anglerfish, Antennatus tuberosus (Cuvier 1817)

More Info


In Australian waters, the Tuberculate Anglerfish is known from the Lizard Island area of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere, widespread in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific, from the Red Sea, East and South Africa, eastwards to the Marshall Islands and Tonga, and south to New Caledonia and Australia in the Western Pacific.

Tuberculate Anglerfish inhabit coral reefs, from shallow reef flats to depths of 73 m, although most individuals have been reported from shallower depths. Individuals often shelter amongst branching corals.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin spines/rays III, 12; Anal fin rays 7-8; Pectoral fin rays 9-12 (rarely 9, 10, or 12).

Illicium long, 1.5-2 times longer than second dorsal spine, tapering to a non-filamentous simple tentacle lacking a distinct esca; 2nd dorsal-fin spine cylindrical, not tapering, straight to slightly curved posteriorly; 3rd dorsal-fin spine only a rounded bulge; caudal peduncle absent.

Scales absent, skin thick and firm, covered with close-set bifurcated spinules.

Prehensile pectoral fins with an ‘elbow’ joint; posterior-most margin of soft dorsal and anal fins attached to body at base of outermost rays of caudal fin; all rays of caudal fin bifurcated.


To 9 cm.


Body colour variable, typically cream or yellow (or slate grey) with dark-brown reticulations and marbling. Head with a whitish, scab-like pattern on face; anal and caudal fins with a conspicuous dark-brown band and marginal dark bands.


Carnivore - ambush predator


Although of no interest to fisheries, Tuberculate Anglerfish are sometime collected for sale in the aquarium industry.


IUCN Red List: Not Evaluated

EPBC Act 1999: Not listed

Similar Species

The Tuberculate Anglerfish is only species in the genus Antennatus, that lacks a distinct esca. The illicium more or less tapers to a fine point.


Antennatus is from the Latin, antenna meaning sensory organ, in reference to the modified first dorsal spine.

Species Citation

Chironectes tuberosus Cuvier 1817, Mém. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. Paris 3: 432, Mauritius.


Dianne J, Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

Tuberculate Anglerfish, Antennatus tuberosus (Cuvier 1817)


Allen, G.R., N.J. Cross, D.J. Bray & D.F. Hoese. 2006. Antennariidae. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (eds.) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia Part 1, pp xxiv 1-670.

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

Cuvier, G.  1817. Sur le genre Chironectes Cuv. (Antennarius Commers.) Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (N. S.) (Série A) Zoologie 3: 418-435, Pls. 16-18.

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. & Grobecker, D.B. 1987. Frogfishes of the World: Systematics, Zoogeography, and Behavioural Ecology. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 420 p.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. 707p.

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 p.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37210022

Biology:'Fishing lure' on head

Depth:1-73 m


Habitat:Coral reefs

Max Size:9 cm

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map