Spotted-Tail Goosefish
Lophiodes caulinaris

Physical Description

  • Wide, flattened body that tapers at the back to small tail
  • Brown mottled coloring; tail dark brown with row of small white dots down the middle
  • Large, wide, flattened head with large mouth full of long, sharp teeth
  • The first dorsal spine has been modified to be an angler, with a lure at the end to attract prey. Two other standalone dorsal spines on back as well
  • Side fins are long and bony


  • Southern California to Peru
  • Gulf of California, Mexico
  • Cocos Island, Costa Rica; Malpelo Island, Colombia; Galapagos Islands


  • Sandy and mud bottoms
  • Depths of 50-1250 feet


  • Small fishes and crustaceans


  • Goosefish larvae have been observed to be eaten by copepods, ctenophores, hydroids, and spiny lobster larvae
  • Adult goosefish are prey to larger fishes

Interesting Facts

  • Also called the Pacific Anglerfish or Spotted-tail angler
  • There is only one other kind of lophiid anglerfish in the eastern Pacific, and they are easily distinguishable by the shape of their lures and the lack of white spots on the other species’ tail
  • They are “lie in wait” ambush predators, lying on the bottom waiting for food to come to them

Sources:; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Discover Life

Photo: Chris Grossman

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