The shaggy frogfish grows up to 20 cm (7.9 in) in length. Like other members of its family, it has a globulous, extensible body, and its soft skin is covered with small dermal spinules. The skin can also be adorned, but not systematically, with cutaneous appendages reminding one of hairs. Its large mouth is prognathous and allows it to gobble up prey as large as itself. The coloring of their bodies is extremely variable because they always tend to match their living environments. Frogfishes have the capacity to change coloration and pigment pattern in few weeks. However, the dominant coloration goes from yellow to brownish-orange, passing through a whole range of related nuances. Their bodies and fins can be endowed with roughly parallel, dark stripes, some radiating outward from the eye. The belly is free from stripes.
The first dorsal spine, called illicium, is modified and is used as a fishing lure. Its extremity is endowed with a characteristic oval esca composed of a multitude of slender filaments in a tuft. This lure is a way to separate easily A. hispidus from Antennarius striatus, which presents similar physical characteristics (stripes, coloration, cutaneous appendages) and with which it is often confused. The illicium has the same length as the second dorsal spine. The second dorsal spine is practically straight and is mobile, and the third one is bent towards the back of the body. They are well separated from each other and also from the dorsal fin.
As all frogfishes, A. hispidus is a voracious carnivore which gulps down all the prey which pass in its strike area, mainly fish, but even some congeners. Its prey range in size up to close to its own size.
Like other members of its family, it has a benthic and solitary lifestyle. They gather during mating period. but do not tolerate each other any more after the act of fertilization. The male can kill or eat the female if she stays close.
- Pietsch & Grobecker, ‘’Frogfishes of the world’’, Stanford University Press, 1987,ISBN 9780804712637
- "Antennarius hispidus (Hispid frogfish, Shaggy Frogfish - Hispid Anglerfisch) - Frogfish / Anglerfisch: Identification key, behavior, range, habitat, photos / Bestimmungsschlüssel, Merkmale, Verhalten, Vorkommen, Verbreitung, Fotos".