Animal Species:Smooth Anglerfish, Histiophryne bougainvilli (Valenciennes, 1837)

The Smooth Anglerfish has a small lure on the snout.  This unusual fish occurs on coral reefs and inshore rocky reefs in temperate waters.

A Smooth Anglerfish with its eggs

A Smooth Anglerfish with its eggs
Photographer: Dave Harasti © Dave Harasti

Standard Common Name

Smooth Anglerfish

Alternative Name/s

Bougainville's Anglerfish, Bougainville's Frogfish


Fishes in the genus Histiophryne can be separated from all other anglerfishes by having the second and third dorsal fin spines showing only as low protruberances on the top of the head.  They also have the posterior-most margin of the dorsal and anal fins extending beyond the base of the caudal fin.

Size range

It grows to about 7 cm in length.


The species occurs from southern Queensland, around the south of the country and north to the central coast of Western Australia.

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

Histiophryne bougainvilli

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Smooth Anglerfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


The species occurs on coral reefs and inshore temperate rocky reefs.

Life cycle

As shown in some of the images, the species protects the developing eggs by wrapping the tail along the side of the body.



What does this mean?


  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Pietsch, T.W. & D.B. Grobecker. 1987. Frogfishes of the World. Systematics, Zoogeography, and Behavioural Ecology. Stanford University Press. Pp. 420.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Smooth Anglerfish, Histiophryne bougainvilli, small lure on snout, Bougainville's Anglerfish, Bougainville's Frogfish, inshore water, rocky reef, temperate water, marine, coral reef, unusual fish, < 10 cm,