Fowlerichthys ocellatus

Common Name

Ocellated Frogfish

Year Described

Bloch & Schneider, 1801


Dorsal Fin: III, 12-13
Anal Fin: 7-8
Pelvic Fin: 5
Pectoral Fin: 11-12
Caudal Fin: 9 bifurcate rays
Vertebrae: 20

Body globose and rough with a large terminal mouth that is strongly oblique. About one-quarter of maxillia naked and tucked under skin. Illicium well developed and naked (8.5-15% SL). Esca well developed as a clump of thin filaments. Illicium longer than second dorsal spine and fits into groove adjacent to it. Eye relatively small (max 7% SL). Second dorsal spine membrane with clear naked/spiny portions separated by a cluster of spinules. Pectoral fin lobe attached. Pelvic and pectoral fin rays bifurcate. Dorsal fin rays bifurcate. Caudal peduncle present (rear dorsal rays not attached to caudal fin by membrane). Pseudobranch present. Dermal spinules bifurcate.


Body extremely variable in color from whitish, pinkish, purplish, tan, brown, or orange. Usually several shades of body color forming mottled pattern of irregular bands. Always has three large ocelli on the body: one on soft dorsal fin, one on midbody, and one on caudal fin. Ocelli are black ringed with yellow. Often has other spots on lower body ranging from small to medium sized, but they are not ocellated.


A large species: reaches 320mm SL.


Coral reefs from 1-150m.


Found from New York (vagrants) to Venezuela, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Also Bermuda.


Pietsch, T.W. & Arnold, R.J. 2020. Frogfishes: Biodiversity, Zoogeography, and Behavioral Ecology. JHU Press.