The Toadfish Family – Batrachoidadae
The fish of the Toadfish or Batrachoididae Family are small to medium sized fish that are fairly easy to recognize by their characteristic shape. They are found circumglobally in all tropical and temperate seas with seventy-nine global species that have been placed in twenty genera. The have broad flattened heads with barbels and/or fleshy flaps, eyes on top of their head, a wide mouth, gill openings on their sides just in front of the pectoral fin base, and head spines on their gill covers. They have two separated dorsal fins, the first having two or three strong, sharp spines, and the second having numerous soft rays. Their pelvic fins are inserted well before the pectoral fins. They have one or more lateral lines on their head and body and have small smooth scales. They are a drab brown color with black saddles and spots. One subfamily, the Porichthyinae (four of which are found herein), have photophores in rows along their head and lateral lines.
Toadfish are bottom-dwellers that shelter under rocks and are found buried in sand or mud within shallow and deep waters at depths up to 900 feet; some enter fresh water streams and rivers. They are known to migrate for seasonal spawning. Eggs are attached to rocks or other marine surfaces. They are slow moving ambush predators feeding primarily on mollusks and crustaceans which are consumed whole. One subfamily, the Thalassophryninae have venomous spines in their first dorsal fin and on their gill covers. The larger Toadfish are sold in the local markets of South America. The Toadfish are similar to the Stargazers (Uranoscopidae) and the Goosefishes (Lophiidae).
There are six members of the Toadfish or Batrachoidadae Family currently presented in this website:
Darkedge Midshipman, Porichthys analis
Gulf Toadfish, Opsanus beta
Leopard Toadfish, Opsanus pardus
Mimetic Midshipman, Porichthys mimeticus
Saddle Midshipman, Porichthys ephippiatus
Specklefin Midshipman, Porichthys myriaster