Arafura frogfishTheodore W. Pietsch
The Lophichthyidae is a poorly known, monotypic family of lophiiform fishes restricted to the western central Pacific. The only known species, Lophichthys boschmai Boeseman, 1964, apparently does not exceed 75 mm total length. Nothing is known about this species' biology or habitat; however, it presumably lives a life similar to other shallow-water anglerfishes, which despite their sedentary nature, are voracious carnivores that sit quietly waiting for smaller fishes to pass by, at which time they enticingly wriggle their esca to attract potential prey to their mouths. Although occasionally caught in commercial bottom trawls, lophichthyids are of no significant economic interest.
Body elongate, compressed. Mouth large, opening oblique to vertical, lower lip without small, cutaneous appendages. Jaws with one or two rows of small, recurved teeth. Eyes small, dorsolateral in position. Opercular opening restricted to a small pore located at the end of a shore tube, behind and above pectoral-fin base. Spinous dorsal fin with three slender spines, widely separated from each other and from soft part of dorsal fin. First dorsal-fin spine modified as an illicium with a well-developed esca; the second and third spines free, not enveloped by thick skin. Pectoral-fin lobe elongate, leg-like; pectoral-fin single, not divided into upper and lower portions. Skin with numerous, small cutaneous appendages; skin of dorsal and lateral surfaces of head and body spinulose (Pietsch, 1981).
Color in preservation white on belly to light pink on the lateral and dorsal surfaces of head and body, with slightly darker brown reticulate pattern on upper part of body; membranes of fins (except those of the caudal fin) dark brown, with closely spaced white spots; oral cavity and viscera unpigmented (Pietsch, 1981).
© 2005 Theodore W. Pietsch
The hypothesized relationships of the Antennarioidei as presented by Pietsch (1981) and Pietsch and Grobecker (1987). See below for character states.
The family Brachionichthyidae is classified as the basal sister taxon of a clade including the Lophichthyidae, Tetrabrachiidae, and Antennariidae; these four families forming the lophiiform suborder Antennarioidei (Pietsch, 1981; Pietsch and Grobecker, 1987). Monophyly of the suborder and the relationships within it are supported by a total of seven synapomorphies (see above cladogram):
- Posteromedial process of vomer emerging from ventral surface as a laterally compressed, keel-like structure, its ventral margin (as seen in lateral view) strongly convex;
- Postmaxillary process of premaxilla spatulate;
- Opercle similarly reduced in size;
- Ectopterygoid triradiate, a dorsal process overlapping the medial surface of metapterygoid;
- Proximal end of hypobranchials II and III deeply bifurcate;
- Interhyal with a medial, posterolaterally directed process that makes contact with the respective preopercle;
- Illicial pterygiophore and pterygiophore of third dorsal-fin spine with highly compressed, blade-like dorsal expansions.
Boeseman, M. 1964. Notes on the fishes of western New Guinea II. Lophichthys boschmai, a new genus and species from the Arafoera Sea. Zool. Meded. (Leiden) 39:12-18, pls. 1-2.
Pietsch, T. W. 1981. The osteology and relationships of the anglerfish genus Tetrabrachium, with comments on lophiiform classification. U. S. Fish. Bull., 79(3): 387-419.
Theodore W. Pietsch
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Theodore W. Pietsch at and Christopher P. Kenaley at
Page copyright © 2005 Theodore W. Pietsch
Page: Tree of Life Lophichthyidae. Lophichthys boschmai. Arafura frogfish. Authored by Theodore W. Pietsch. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.
- First online 28 October 2005
- Content changed 17 April 2006
Citing this page:
Pietsch, Theodore W. 2006. Lophichthyidae. Lophichthys boschmai. Arafura frogfish. Version 17 April 2006 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Lophichthys_boschmai/22059/2006.04.17 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/