Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Lophius americanus, Goosefish, Monkfish, American Goosefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

bony ridge on snout rough & spiny
D III + III,11-12, rear spines - with black membrane
pectoral 25-28, inner rear edge not black
gill opening all behind pectoral

Lophius americanus Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1837

Goosefish, Monkfish, American Goosefish

Head and front of body flattened, broad, body narrowing behind; ridge from top of eye to snout rough, with knobs, spines or ridges; bone behind eye with 2-3 spines; mouth broad, with many long, sharp teeth; gill opening large, opens entirely below and behind pectoral base; dorsal fin consists of III isolated spines on head (1st spine acts as a fishing pole, with a lure), several short spines joined by membrane above pectoral fin; length of 3rd head spine and of 1st behind-head spine less than minimum distance between the 2 ridges that run along snout; soft dorsal fin (11-12 rays) behind, on rear of body; anal fin 9-10; pectoral fin 25-28.

Dark brown above; underturned inner edge of pectoral not black, underside of fin with abrupt change between pale and dark parts at outer edge; with a black membrane connecting rear dorsal spines.

Reaches 120 cm.

Lives on sand, gravel, shell and mud bottoms; from high salinity bays to the continental slope.

Depth range: 10-850 m, usually between 25-220 m.

The Grand Banks to Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 120
Depth Range Min
  • 10
Depth Range Max
  • 850