Of all the different species of Frogfish to be found in the Lembeh Strait the Painted Frogfish (Antennarius pictus) is the most common one – or at least the most frequently seen. The Painted Frogfish grows to about 15cm in size and occurs in almost all colours: Black, White, Red, Orange, Pink, Yellow, Green, Cream, Peach, Brown, Grey, Blue plus all shades in between these colours. It can also be unicoloured or patched. Plus it can change its colour within days to suit its surrounding. The Antennarius pictus likes to hide in sponges or spongy rubble, where they use their “fishing lure” to attract prey. Juveniles can also be found out in the sand. Generally you can say that they are rather to be found on Muck or Rubble sites than on coral dives.
Jung Painted Frogfish are often confused with the Warty Frogfish (Clown Frogfish or Antennarius maculatus) as they also come in the typical white/red or yellow/red pattern.
Like most Frogfish the female Antennarius pictus releases its Eggmass into the water where the smaller male adds its sperm onto the eggmass. The eggs then drift off and the next thing seen are tiny hatchlings which are about the size of half a pea.
Juvenile Painted Frogfishes are photographed best with Macro Lenses – bigger individuals can also be captured with wider lenses. In the Lembeh Strait they can be found on almost all the Divesites: Aer Bajo, TK1-3, Hairball, Tandu Rusa, Jahir, Pantai Parigi, Critter Hunt, Nudi Falls, Retak Larry, Rojos … just to name a few.