WATCH: Frogfish Capture Prey with One Swift Gulp

speedgulp

Masters of deception, frogfish have one of nature’s fastest (and most unexpected) gulps.


Found in most tropical and subtropical ocean habitats, frogfish come in countless different colors and textures.

Not only does their camouflage help hide them from predators, it helps hide them from prey. Some frogfish go the extra mile in the name of protection and predation and are covered in algae. They move very slowly (they cannot swim and instead opt to
waddle around on their flippers) and wait for prey to pass by.

A frogfish waits between sea sponges.
A frogfish waits between sea sponges.

They may be slow walkers, but they make up for it in their lighting-fast gulp — swallowing their prey in one gulp which can take less then 6 milliseconds. This motion is faster than it takes a muscle to contract, so scientists are still a bit puzzled on how it can gulp its meal so quickly.

Adding to its hunting arsenal, it has an appendage on its dorsal fin that acts as a lure for potential prey such as crustaceans, other fish, or even other frog fish. They can even expand their mouths and gut to swallow prey up to twice its body size. And since frogfish have no teeth, they have to swallow their prey whole.


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