Cecelia Carroll: Goosefish: Not Just Another Pretty Face, May 7, 2017

NOAA Teacher At Sea
Cecelia Carroll
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B Bigelow
May 2 -13, 2017

Mission: Spring Bottom Trawl Survey, Leg IV
Geographic Area of Cruise: Northeast Atlantic
Longitude: 43degrees 33.310 N
Latitude: 067degrees 07.103W
Weather: Clear

Science and Technology:

One of the most interesting looking fish we have brought on board in the nets is the Goosefish (Lophius americanus), also known as the Monkfish. Its striking feature is its large mouth that can be as wide as the fish is long, lined with several rows of needle sharp teeth.  The Goosefish has a mobile illicium, an angling apparatus with a fleshy appendage at its tip, the esca, that acts as a lure to attract its prey towards its huge mouth. When the Goosefish opens its mouth suddenly, a vacuum is created and its prey is sucked into its cavernous mouth. Its eyes are on the top of its head and there are small fleshy flaps encircling then lower jaw, almost a beard-like appearance.  Its back is lined with spikes.  The female lays an egg veil that can stretch 6-12 meters.

Goosefish weighed and measured on the scales.
Notice another group of teeth further into the mouth
Notice the little eyes.
The underbelly of the Goosefish.


The illicium extended as to entice its prey

Diagram: “Fishes of The Gulf of Maine”, Bigelow and Schroeder, 3rd edition.The Goosefish is marketed as Monkfish for consumption.

Personal Bio

Holding a Spiny Dogfish(Squalis acanthias)
Safety drill


Did you know the Goosefish is also known as the “poor man’s lobster” because of its light taste similar to lobster.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: