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


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, triangular, or box-shaped (in Coelophrys) head and a small tail. The largest members of the family are about 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) can 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]



  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.