Animal Species:Eastern Frogfish, Batrachomoeus dubius (White, 1790)

The Eastern Frogfish has a large mouth, fleshy lips and a tasseled 'beard'. The species is endemic to Australia, occurring from southern Queensland to central New South Wales.

Standard Common Name

Eastern Frogfish

Alternative Name/s

Blotched Toadfish, Brown Frogfish, Dubious Frogfish.


The Eastern Frogfish has a large mouth, fleshy lips and a tasseled 'beard'. It has a large head with raised eyes and a wide, slightly concave interorbital region. The pectoral fins are large. The three short first dorsal fin spines are reported to be venomous. There is a pair of diverging spines on the upper edge of the operculum.

Adult colour varies from a mottled brown to pale grey or a deep blue-grey. Juveniles are pale with broad dark bands.

Size range

The Eastern Frogfish grows to 30 cm in length.


It is an endemic species that occurs from southern Queensland to central New South Wales. It is relatively common in Sydney Harbour.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Batrachomoeus dubius

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Eastern Frogfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


It is known from very shallow waters down to at least 150 m in depth. It has been observed sheltering in holes on rocky reefs, kelp beds and silty areas.

Other behaviours and adaptations

When captured, the Eastern Frogfish is capable of making a croaking sound.



What does this mean?


  1. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.

Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Eastern Frogfish, Batrachomoeus dubius, Batrachoididae, large mouth, tasseled 'beard', fleshy lips, endemic to Australia, Blotched Toadfish, Brown Frogfish, Dubious Frogfish, raised eyes, mottled brown, pale grey, deep blue-grey, 10 cm - 30 cm, Sydney Harbour, marine,


Mark McGrouther - 8.09 AM, 01 September 2009
Thanks for confirming that the fish was a juvenile. I've only ever seen adults. Agreed, you don't often see this fish in the open. I'll email you offline about the video. Thank you for trying to post it.
Jonathan - 6.08 PM, 31 August 2009
Yep, this one was a juvenile. Probably about 4-5cm across the head. It's been in the same hole/spot for about 2 months now. On 26 July, 2009, there was an adult around that was out in the open. Quite strange to see them exposed rather than hiding under a ledge or rock. Only got video of it as my camera was being repaired. Couldn't get the video down to a size that this site would accept.
Mark McGrouther - 8.08 AM, 31 August 2009
Thank you for posting the image Jonathan. You did very well spotting the fish in what appears to be a very silty habitat. Is the fish a juvenile? It certainly appears to be a young individual.
Jonathan - 9.08 PM, 29 August 2009
Photo taken at Chowder Bay, 29 August, 2009, at a depth of 9m.

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