WFB 232 IchthyologyMatt Larson Batrachoidiformes (Greek bat

WFB 232 Ichthyology
Matt Larson
Batrachoidiformes (Greek bat-, ‘one that walks’ ranchi-, ‘rocky shore’, oid-, ‘like, form’)
Superclass Osteichthyes, boney fishes
Class Actinoptergii ray-finned fishes
Order Batrchonoidiformes, Toadfish
Family Batranchoididae,1 family, 4 subfamilies
Subfamilies: Batrachoidinae
32 genera, 96 species
Notable species: Oyster toadfish (Opsanus, tau)
Smooth toadfish (Tetractenos, glaber)
Common toadfish (Tetractenos hamiltoni)
Description: “usually scaleless, Head large with eyes more dorsal than lateral; mouth large and
bordered by premaxilla and maxilla, pelvic fins jugular, with ones spine and two
or three soft rays, three pairs of gills, swim bladder present, no ribs,” (Neslon
Habitat: Benthic, Mostly marine, but some species are found in Freshwater
Distribution: Off the coasts of Americas, Africa, Europe, southern Asia and Australia, and the
Amazon River
Ecology and life history: Toadfishes are mainly in the benthic area, they hide on the bottom
and wait for their prey to wander close enough to attack, their diet includes
mainly small fish or small crustaceans, some toadfishes can make sounds with
their swim bladder by contracting various muscles, these sounds are reported to
be like grunts and hoots, most species reproduce sexually and spawn a various
times of the year
Additional details: Many species of this order are poisonous, this is due to the large amount of
tetrodoxin, which is fatal when consumed, some species within the
Thalassophryninae family have two dorsal spines and a hollow opercular spine in
which venom from a glands can be secreted, the fourth subfamily, Halophryninae,
was just recently added to the Batrachoidiformes order in 2008
Recent Research –
Greenfield, D. W., R. Winterbottom, B. B. Collette. 2008. Review of the Toadfish Genera
(Teleostei: Batrarchoididae). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 15:665710
References used:
Bond, C. E. 1996. Biology of Fishes, 2nd. ed. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth
Johnson, G. D. and E. O. Wiley. 2007. Percomorpha. The Tree of Life Web Project. Available: (March 2013)
Nelson, J. S. 1994. Fishes of the World. 3rd. ed. Wiley and Sons, New York.