Like other anglerfish, the psychedelic frogfish prefers to ‘walk’ rather than swim, using its leg-like pectoral fins. The fish also appears to ‘hop’, using the fins to push off when it hits the sea floor and expelling water from the gill openings as it does so to propel it forward (5). The tail is curled to one side, sending the fish in unpredictable directions as it pushes off the sea floor (4). No other frogfish or similar species have so far been observed to ‘hop’ in the manner of the psychedelic frogfish, although using the pectoral fins to push off prior to swimming is common (5).
Anglerfish generally have the ability to change colour and become camouflaged against their surroundings to stay hidden from prey attracted by their lure. In contrast, the psychedelic frogfish’s lurid colouring does not change, which appears to be reflected in its behaviour as it is a shy and elusive species, hiding itself away. This is presumably due to its inability to become camouflaged in the open. Researchers speculate that the psychedelic frogfish’s flamboyant colouring may be a way for the fish to mimic the corals within its habitat (5). Each individual psychedelic frogfish can be identified by its unique pattern of stripes and concentric rings (5) (7).
With no lure or camouflage, the psychedelic frogfish instead catches its prey by concealing itself tightly in coral crevices where small fish hide (2). Its thick skin serves to protect it from the sharp edges of coral as it wedges itself between the tiny cracks (5).