Orange Toadfish (Opsanus beta)
The Orange Toadfish is found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, from southeastern Florida, east to the Bahamas, southeast through the entire Gulf of Mexico to Yucatan, Mexico. These creatures make their homes in shallow waters in coastal bays and lagoons under rocks on grassy sea beds.
The orange toadfish have poisonous spines that will cause extreme pain. The males have specialized swim bladder muscles that are used to produce the sound known as the ‘boatwhistle’, making sounds that are short and high-pitched. They reach approximately 12 inches in length and, as their name indicates, they are usually orange in color. They have a flattened body, a large head and mouth and a large belly. These fish can remain alive for an extended period of time out of water.
This fish is a master at camouflage and preys on small fish, mollusks, squid and crustaceans at night. This predator toadfish will lie motionless for hours waiting for its prey to come by. When the timing is just right the toadfish will come out of the shadows and devour its prey.
Barracuda are known to feed on all species of toadfish. Other large fishes, marine mammals such as dolphin, and sea turtles are potential predators of the gulf toadfish.
Information courtesy of fishkeepers.net, aquariumgeeks.com
Photo courtesy of pbase.com