Nonkoliso Mgibantaka, Photographic Competition Winner: The ugliest specimen

I describe this frogfish specimen as being so weird/unusual and wonderful, it’s just not easy to take your eyes away from it. It has a short-stocky body, rough skin, big mouth with many short teeth and resembles stones.

The frog fish is good at camouflaging to confuse both prey and predator. Its appearance protects it from predators and at the same time, it mimics a potential meal to its prey. The dorsal spine, called illicium, resembles a worm or shrimp and other animals would try to catch it and they become prey themselves.

It is one of the specimens that we use in our exhibitions during science festivals. Its uniqueness attracts many visitors/tourists and most of the people have never seen this fish before and therefore having it here adds value to our collection and society at large.

If forced to keep only five specimens in my collection, I would definitely keep this one! It’s not easy to access or see this fish in its original environment (it blends in with the surrounding environment). It is great that people can see this wonderful specimen here in our collection.

One thing you might not know about frogfish: they tend to walk rather than swim, they are cannibalistic and can feed on other animals of the same species.

Congratulations Nonkoliso and the SAIAB team!