You might have seen several strange animals. I can bet you haven’t seen the hairy dogfish.

The hairy dogfish (Antennarius striatus) is a marine fish belonging to the family Antennariidae.

Just like other members of its family, the hairy dogfish has a rounded, extensible body, and a soft skin covered with irregularly-arranged dermal spinules resembling hairs.

The fish has a large mouth that could be extended forward. This allows it to swallow prey as large as itself. The voracious carnivore will devour all right-sized prey that pass within reach, usually other fish, but sometimes even its own kind.

You can’t be sure of the colour you’d see even if you ever come across the hairy dogfish because it tends to match its environment. Frogfishes have the capacity to change colouration and pigment pattern, taking only a few weeks to adapt. However, some colours are dominant; they vary from yellow to brownish-orange, passing through a range of shades, but it can also be green, gray, brown, almost white, or even completely black without any pattern. Body and fins can be marked with roughly parallel dark stripes or elongated blotches, some with rays radiating outward from the eye.

You would find them in Lagos if they lived anywhere close to the shore but they are bottom dwellers (benthic). Average average occurrence recorded is a depth of 40m. They are found in the tropical and subtropical waters from the Indian Ocean to the center of the Pacific Ocean, and in the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast of Africa. They are also found on New Jersey coast to the southern Brazilian coast including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

They make no friends, even with family members. The only thing that brings their family together is mating. Once fertilization is over, they do not tolerate each other any longer and could become the other’s prey in no time. Strange, you’d agree!

Here’s a video you will fancy on the hairy dogfish: