Sanguine Frogfish
Ranisapo Sangrón
(Antennarius sanguineus)

Sanguine Frogfish, Antennarius sanguineus: The Sanguine Frogfish is the most common frogfish in the Eastern Pacific and has a globular body that is yellow or yellow brown to reddish with brown spotting and mottling.

The body skin is rough being covered with close-set, double pointed spicules. There are small round gill openings behind and below the pectoral fin base.

The key to identification are the brown spots on the belly which are not present on any other frogfish. Most have a characteristic large ocellated black spot at the rear base of the dorsal fin.

The “fishing pole” is about the length of the second dorsal spine and the “lure” is an elongated tapering appendage with slender filaments and a cluster of darkly pigmented round swellings at the base.

The second dorsal spine is strongly curved and it not connected to the head by a membrane.

They have a large upward projecting mouth. The pectoral fins have an “elbow” joint and the pelvic fins are short.

The Sanguine Frogfish reach a maximum length of 10 cm (4 inches) and are around found up to 120 feet in the water column over rocky bottoms.

They reside in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from along the west coast of Baja and in the northern quarter of the Sea of Cortez.

The Sanguine Frogfish is one of the more exotic most unusual fishes in the world and a member of the Antennariidae family which are known in Mexico as ranisapos. They have globular compressed bodies with large pectoral limb-like fins, small round gill openings, and a very large upward directed mouth with small teeth. They have greatly modified fleshy first dorsal spines (illicium) on top of the head between the eyes that forms a moveable “fishing rod” tipped with an enticing lure (esca). They wiggle the esca vigorously to attract fish prey that are swallowed whole. They are capable of consuming prey larger than themselves. They are poor-swimming bottom dwellers that are masters of camouflage and change colors to blend into their backgrounds. They have limited mobility and move by “walking” on their fins. There are 24 global frogfishes of which four are found in Mexican waters.

Sanguine Frogfish picture

Sanguine Frogfish, Antennarius sanguineus: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in September 2011. Size 8.3 cm (3.25 inches). The above fish documents a northern range extension of this species of approximately 40 miles along the extreme southern west coast of Baja into the Pacific. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.