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Lophichthys boschmai

Boschma's frogfish, Arafura Frogfish

Theodore W. Pietsch
Containing group: Lophiiformes


The Lophichthyidae is a poorly known, monotypic family of lophiiforms 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; 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).


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.

Title Illustrations
Scientific Name Lophichthys boschmai Boeseman
Copyright © 2005 Theodore W. Pietsch
About This Page

Theodore W. Pietsch

School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
University of Washington
Box 355100
Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Theodore W. Pietsch at and Christopher P. Kenaley at

Citing this page:

Pietsch, Theodore W. and Kenaley, Christopher P. 2005. Lophichthyidae. Lophichthys boschmai. Boschma's frogfish, Arafura Frogfish. Version 28 October 2005 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Lophichthys_boschmai/22059/2005.10.28 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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