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Bleached frogfish

By Leonard Ho - Posted Sep 28, 2016 09:00 AM
Some of us may have seen, lusted after, or even kept completely white frogfish. They are drop-dead gorgeous. But their beauty may belie a sad reality. Researchers hypothesize that some of these frogfish may lack pigmentation in order to camouflage against bleached corals that are all too common nowadays.
Bleached frogfish

A super-white frogfish rests against tunicates and a bleached Acropora

This starkly white warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) was observed camouflaging itself against multiple fully bleached corals at 10 m depth in the Maldives, where a major bleaching event had recently occurred in April to May 2016.

Antennarius sp. are known to change their colors to match their environments.  Might the rare white frogfishes that occasionally make their way into the aquarium trade actually be because these specimens were collected from areas of recent bleaching events?  And do these frogfish (both in the wild and in captivity) change to different colors once the coral reefs regain their health (and color)?


The same frogfish is observed squatting against a bleached Goniastrea sp. brain coral

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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