The marine world often dazzles and amazes us with different species of rare animals that capture our attention and the hairy toadfish is one of the strangest and most peculiar species.
The hairy toadfish (scientifically Antennariidae) has this name because it is very similar to toads, both in the thickness and shape of its mouth and in the semicircular shape of its body.
In Indonesia, especially in the Lembeh Strait, the hairy toad is considered one of the main attractions of diving in the area.
Characteristics of the Hairy Toadfish
Unlike other fish, the toadfish has a robust appearance and is full of warts and spikes that give it a rock-like appearance.
In fact, its appearance is very similar to that of a common toad, which is why it is called a “hairy toad”.
The size of this rare animal can vary depending on the age of each and the species.
This fish has really attractive colors including red, green, white, black and yellow. In addition, it has luminous organs that make its appearance interesting.
Thanks to the colors it possesses it can camouflage itself from its predators among the algae and corals.
It is also covered with elongated particles that imitate the shapes of algae very well.
Most fish swim by moving their pectoral and pelvic fins, although there are a number of smaller species that move around using jet propulsion.
But, the hairy toadfish, although it can swim, is not very good at it and does not do so as often as it is usually semi-buried on the seabed.
The hairy toadfish is considered a potentially poisonous animal because the tines on its dorsal fin and gill caps contain a highly toxic substance.
This is a defense mechanism against its predators. However, humans must be careful not to come across one of these due to the potency of its venom.
Where does this Weird Fish live?
The hairy toadfish lives in areas where there are many algae and corals, as these make it easier for it to survive by camouflaging itself to predators.
Geographically, we can find specimens mainly in the waters of the Philippines, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and in tropical and subtropical regions, but it especially inhabits Indonesia.
What does the Hairy Toadfish feed on?
This rare fish uses its skills to get its food, in fact it is considered a pretty fast fish when it comes to stalking its prey.
One thing that allows it to successfully get its food is that it semi-buries its body in the sand or hides in the middle of the coral to go unnoticed and attack its prey.
It uses the branches it has on its body to make its victims believe it is a small worm and thus attract them and at that moment it attacks them very quickly,
This hunting process proves that the toadfish is a rather cunning animal.
The toadfish can open its mouth up to twelve times its natural size which allows it to ingest prey of considerable size as it eats any kind of fish, crustaceans and even other toadfish.
It can even eat other animals twice the size of its stomach,
Victims of a hairy toadfish have no chance of escape since this rare animal possesses the ability to close its stomach using its muscles.
Reproduction of the Hairy Toadfish
Unfortunately, many aspects of the rare hairy toadfish are still unknown and their way of reproduction is one of them.
However, this process has rarely been documented but is considered one of the most spectacular in nature.
It is believed that the female may have as many as 180,000 eggs, giving it a gigantic and bulky appearance.
The male will be responsible for pushing the female to the surface for spawning. After two months, the eggs will produce small hairy toadfish which, although they do not look much like adults, will have their characteristic colours.
What are the Predators of this Strange Fish?
The hairy toadfish is more of a hunter than a prey. However, it can be the food of other larger fish especially if it is a young specimen.
However, it could be said that the main predator of this rare fish is itself. For this fish loves to eat other members of its own species.