Ogcocephalidae is a family of anglerfish specifically adapted for a benthic lifestyle of crawling about on the seafloor. Ogcocephalid anglerfish are sometimes referred to as batfishes,[1][2] deep-sea batfishes,[3] handfishes, and seabats.[4] They are found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide.[2] They are mostly found at depths between 200 and 3,000 m (660 and 9,840 ft), but have been recorded as deep as 4,000 m (13,000 ft).[2][5] A few species live in much shallower coastal waters and, exceptionally, may enter river estuaries.[2]

They are dorsoventrally compressed fishes similar in appearance to rays, with a large circular or triangular head, which in Coelophrys is box-shaped, and a small tail. The largest members of the family are approximately 50 cm (20 in) in standard length. The illicium (a modified dorsal fin ray on the front of the head supporting the esca, a bulbous lure) may be retracted into an illicial cavity above the mouth. The esca is not luminous, as in most other groups of anglerfishes, but secretes a fluid thought to act as a chemical lure, attracting prey.[6] Analysis of their stomach contents indicates that batfishes feed on fish, crustaceans, and polychaete worms.[5]

Halieutaea stellata by DaijuAzuma
Halieutaea stellata in Takeshima Aquarium, Japan
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Suborder: Ogcocephaloidei
Family: Ogcocephalidae
D. S. Jordan, 1895



Naturalis Biodiversity Center - RMNH.ART.537 - Halieutaea stellata - Kawahara Keiga - Siebold Collection

Painting of Halieutaea stellata by Kawahara Keiga, 1825

Malthopsis lutea

The longnose seabat (Malthopsis lutea)


  1. ^ Derouen, V., et al. (2015). Examining evolutionary relationships and shifts in depth preferences in batfishes (Lophiiformes: Ogcocephalidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84, 27-33.
  2. ^ a b c d Family Ogcocephalidae - Batfishes. FishBase. 2016.
  3. ^ Bray, D. J. 2012. Ogcocephalidae: Deep-sea Batfishes. Fishes of Australia, accessed 07 May 2016.
  4. ^ Ogcocephalidae. Australian Museum.
  5. ^ a b Bertelsen, F. & Pietsch, T.W. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
  6. ^ Theodore W. Pietsch (2005). "Ogcocephalidae". Tree of Life web project. Retrieved 4 April 2006.

External links


Coelophrys is a genus of fishes in the family Ogcocephalidae, one of the families of anglerfishes. They are distributed in the western Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.


Dibranchus is a fish genus in the family Ogcocephalidae.

Dibranchus atlanticus

The Atlantic batfish (Dibranchus atlanticus) is a species of fish in the family Ogcocephalidae. It is found in deep water in the Atlantic Ocean where it lives on the seabed, feeding on small invertebrates.


Halicmetus is a fish genus in the family Ogcocephalidae. This genus of ray-finned fish has a uniform gray to black color. Halicmetus have a max length of 8.7 centimeters and live in marine bathydemersal from 280–1000 meters deep and can be found in the Western Pacific: Japan, Taiwan, and eastern Australia.


Halieutichthys is a fish genus in the family Ogcocephalidae.

Halieutichthys bispinosus

Halieutichthys bispinosus belongs to the batfish family Ogcocephalidae. It is native to the Gulf of Mexico, and was discovered in 2010.


Halieutopsis is a fish genus in the family Ogcocephalidae.

Longnose batfish

The longnose batfish (Ogcocephalus corniger) is a species of batfish found at depths between 29 and 230 m (95 and 755 ft) in the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas. Like other members of the family Ogcocephalidae, it has a flat triangular body with coloring varying from yellowish to purple with pale, round spots. The lips are orange-red. Projecting from its head is a characteristic structure that is shared by other anglerfish.

Louisiana pancake batfish

The Louisiana pancake batfish, Halieutichthys intermedius, belongs to the batfish family Ogcocephalidae. It is native to the Gulf of Mexico, and was discovered in 2010. The known range of the species lies within the area of the Gulf of Mexico which was affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Ogcocephalus is an anglerfish genus in the "batfish" family Ogcocephalidae.

Ogcocephalus notatus

Ogcocephalus notatus, the oval batfish, is a species of batfish in the family Ogcocephalidae. It is found in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean.

Ogcocephalus parvus

Ogcocephalus parvus, the roughback batfish, is a species of batfish found along the coast of the western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina in the United States to Brazil. This species grows to a length of 10 centimetres (3.9 in) TL.

Ogcocephalus porrectus

Ogcocephalus porrectus, the rosy-lipped batfish, is endemic to Cocos Island off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Though members of Ogcocephalidae occur in tropical, warm waters in both the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. Rosy-lipped batfish generally reside in shallow to deep water benthic zones with a bathymetric range of 35 – 150 m. The syntypic series was collected at 120 m on a rocky bottom. What makes this fish distinctive are its rosy red lips, specialized pectoral fins used for "walking", and an illicium used for attracting prey.

Ogcocephalus radiatus

Ogcocephalus radiatus or the polka-dot batfish is an arrow-shaped fish in the family Ogcocephalidae with an elongated thin tail. It is dorso-ventrally flattened with round pectoral fins that sit flat on the bottom of the sea floor. It uses its pectoral fins and pelvic fins to "walk" along the bottom in a side-to-side shuffling motion.

Pancake batfish

The pancake batfish (Halieutichthys aculeatus) belongs to the batfish family Ogcocephalidae. Their distributrition includes western Atlantic, North Carolina, northern Gulf of Mexico to northern South America. They inhabit a subtropical, sandy, reef-associated, and 45–820 m deep environment.They live on the bottom, covered in sand. The fish are flat, resembling pancakes with a maximum size of ca. 10 cm. They feed on small snails, clams, crustaceans, scallops, worms, and occasionally on small fishes. Their eggs and larvae are pelagic and develop upon reaching the bottom.Two new species of Halieutichthys batfish were discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, in the region directly affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The two species were named Halieutichthys intermedius and Halieutichthys bispinosus.

Red-lipped batfish

The red-lipped batfish or Galapagos batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini) is a fish of unusual morphology found around the Galapagos Islands and off Peru at depths of 3 to 76 m (10 to 249 ft). Red-lipped batfish are closely related to rosy-lipped batfish (Ogcocephalus porrectus), which are found near Cocos Island off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This fish is mainly known for its bright red lips. Batfish are not good swimmers; they use their highly adapted pectoral, pelvic and anal fins to "walk" on the ocean floor. When the batfish reaches maturity, its dorsal fin becomes a single spine-like projection (thought to function primarily as a lure for prey). Like other anglerfish, the red-lipped batfish has a structure on its head known as illicium. This structure is employed for attracting prey.


Solocisquama is a fish genus in the family Ogcocephalidae.

Starry handfish

The starry handfish, Halieutaea stellata, is a batfish of the family Ogcocephalidae found on the continental shelves of the Indo-Pacific oceans at depths of between 50 and 400 m. They are up to 30 cm long.


Zalieutes is a fish genus in the family Ogcocephalidae.


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