Histrio histrio

Common Name


Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Dorsal Fin: 11-13
Anal Fin: 6-8
Pelvic Fin: 5
Pectoral Fin: 9-11
Caudal Fin: 7 bifurcate rays (outer 2 simple)
Vertebrae: 18-19

Body globose with a large terminal mouth that is strongly oblique. Illicium present but very short (much less than second spine). Illicium half length of second dorsal spine.
Esca oval with fleshy folds and small filaments. A pair of fleshy appendages anterior to illicium on snout. Pectoral fin lobe free. Pelvic fin long (>25% SL). Caudal peduncle present (rear dorsal rays not attached to caudal fin by membrane). Pseudobranch present. Dermal spinules mostly absent making the skin smooth. Body covered with fleshy flaps aiding in camouflage amongst Sargassum weed.


Body yellow to light brown with a dramatic marbled pattern of medium to dark brown with random white spots. Fins with dark bands. Pattern usually quite consistent.


Medium sized: reaches 20cm SL.


Usually pelagic at surface in Sargassum weed, but also rarely in coastal waters when the Sargassum is driven ashore.


Widespread from Maine to Uruguay in open pelagic waters.


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