Histrio histrio HISHIS-021600-MAGLUI-001

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2000 and is filed under Frogfishes, Spawning Reports.

The Breeder’s Registry® Information contained in this report is taken from submitted observations from aquarist unless noted otherwise (see comments). Information may be reproduced providing the Breeder’s Registry is cited.


Breeder ID: HISHIS-021600-MAGLUI-001

Date received: 2/16/00

Identification: Histrio histrio (Linnaeus, 1758)

Geographic origin: Widespread tropical distribution, except in the Mediterranean


Taxonomy (after I.C.Z.N.)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Lophiiformes

Family: Antennariidae

Genus: Histrio (G. Fischer, 1813)

Species: histrio


Description: Short laterally compressed spherical body with lateral eyes. Large mouth with 2 – r rows of teeth (irregular). Gills are tube-like openings under the pectoral base and are used for “jet propelling”. 3 dorsal spines on the head with the first (anteriormost) separate and modified with a fleshy tip (esca) used as “lure” to attract smaller fish. Voracious carnivores. Cutaneous appendages or filaments are almost always present. Coloration highly variable; white, yellow, red, dark brown, and black. The genus Histrio unlike other genus of the family Antennariidae (Frogfishes) is pelagic and lives in floating masses of sargassum, hence the common name Sargassum fish. Generally solitary. Females produce a “raft” of eggs which floats at the surface among the seaweed. 200 mm TL.


Length of time in captivity, female: 16 days

Size female (mm): 120

Adult diet: Fresh frozen smelt, thawed and shaken at surface. One per day.

Pre-spawning activity: The female showed a greatly distended, almost spherical, abdomen Observations of female releases eggs only. (no male present)

Time spawning began: evening

Area spawning occurred: Open water column

Frequency of spawning: First and only release

Egg description: Large ribbon shaped gelatinous structure floating in mid-water, (10 x 50 cm). The entire mass is occuoied by egg sites, but most are empty, being just a silhouette. There are some patches where “good” eggs appear. These are round, transparent, with a small white mass close to the egg wall. Looks like the eggs of the freshwater snail Planorbis sp.

Approximate quantity: “many”

Size: 800 microns.

Egg changes / development: The egg mass was left in the tank because of the unlikely possibility that this species could have internal fertilization (since the female was newly arrived.) This was not the case. The next day the egg mass became less clear and egg membranes were less nitid. That night several eggs were free in the water. The gelatinous mass disappeared over the next two days.


Comments: This is not really a “breeding report” but the observations could be useful for breeding this species, notorious for cannibalism. A pair should be kept in the same tank separated by a partition and put together only when the female is readly to release eggs.


Original description: Originally described by Caroleus Linnaeus in 1758 as Lophius histrio. There were five (5) other combinations of names proposed by Linnaeus in addition to Histrio Histrio

Synonyms: There are 42 junior synonyms for this species.

Vernacular name: Sargassum fish

Word origin: Histrio is from the Latin meaning “actor” (i.e. also root of the English word histrionics)

About this report: Information contained in this report is taken from submitted observations. Taxonomy, Synonomy, Original description , Word origin and Suggested reading are provided by member(s) of The Breeder’s Registry staff. Information is presented under the belief that it is accurate. If you have information in addition to, or contrary to that presented you are encouraged to contact the Breeder’s Registry. Permission is granted for “one-time” personal use. Reproduction as distributed or accessible media is prohibited without prior written permission. All rights reserved. 2000

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.