v. 1.0 – 26 July 2017 view/download PDF

Family BATRACHOIDIDAE Toadfishes
23 genera · 84 species

Subfamily PORICHTHYINAE     

Aphos Hubbs & Schultz 1939    a-, without; phos, light, referring to lack of complex photophores characteristic of the subfamily

Aphos porosus (Valenciennes 1837)    full or pores, referring to numerous lines of pores on body (but fewer of them compared to Porichthys porosissimus, its presumed congener at the time)

Porichthys Girard 1854    por[osus], pore, referring to “series of pores extending to the whole length of body from divers regions of the head”; ichthys, fish

Porichthys analis Hubbs & Schultz 1939    anal, referring to greater number of anal-fin rays compared to its sympatric congener P. notatus

Porichthys bathoiketes Gilbert 1968    bathos, deep; oiketes, dweller, referring to comparatively deep waters from which all specimens were collected

Porichthys ephippiatus Walker & Rosenblatt 1988    saddled, referring to prominent saddle-like dorsolateral pigment blotches

Porichthys greenei Gilbert & Starks 1904    in honor of Charles Wesley Greene, who described the sense and phosphorescent organs of this species in 1899                         

Porichthys kymosemeum Gilbert 1968    kymatos, wavy; semeion, sign or marking, referring to wavy line on upper part of body                      

Porichthys margaritatus (Richardson 1844)    adorned with pearls, referring to lines that traverse head and body, described as “bright nacry specks, looking like so many pearls”                   

Porichthys mimeticus Walker & Rosenblatt 1988    imitative, referring to its close resemblance to P. notatus                              

Porichthys myriaster Hubbs & Schultz 1939    myrias, myriad; aster, star, referring to its “multitudinous” photophores, which “when active shine like stars”                        

Porichthys notatus Girard 1854    marked, referring to “subcrescent shaped vitta [a band or stripe of color] beneath the eye”                 

Porichthys oculellus Walker & Rosenblatt 1988  diminutive of oculus, eye, referring to its relatively small eyes

Porichthys oculofrenum Gilbert 1968    oculo, eye; frenum, bridle, referring to narrow depigmented area connecting the eyes                        

Porichthys pauciradiatus Caldwell & Caldwell 1963    paucus, few; radiatus, rayed, referring to reduced number of dorsal- (29-31) and anal-fin (27-28) rays                     

Porichthys plectrodon Jordan & Gilbert 1882    plectrum, spur; odon, tooth, presumably referring to “strongly hooked” teeth, especially on lower jaw                            

Porichthys porosissimus (Cuvier 1829)    most porous, referring to four longitudinal series of phosphorescent pores on body

Subfamily THALASSOPHRYNINAE Venomous Toadfishes      

Daector Jordan & Evermann 1898    Greek for slayer, referring to its venomous spines                                 

Daector dowi (Jordan & Gilbert 1887)    in honor of John M. Dow (1827-1892), ship captain and naturalist, who helped Gilbert procure fishes from Panama, including first specimen of this species (destroyed in a fire at Indiana University before it was described)                            

Daector gerringi (Rendahl 1941)    in honor of Gosta Gerring, Swedish Museum of Natural History, who collected type                        

Daector quadrizonatus (Eigenmann 1922)    quadri-, fourfold; zonatus, banded, referring to four short bars across back                        

Daector reticulata (Günther 1864)    reticulated, referring to network of yellowish lines on head, body and fins                      

Daector schmitti Collette 1968    in honor of carcinologist Waldo L. Schmitt (1887-1977), the “energetic” collector of the holotype                            

Thalassophryne Günther 1861    thalassina, of the sea; phryne, toad, i.e., sea-toad                     

Thalassophryne amazonica Steindachner 1876    ica, belonging to: referring to its occurrence in Amazon River basin of Brazil (also occurs in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru)                           

Thalassophryne maculosa Günther 1861    spotted, referring to round black spots on pectoral fins and sides of body                                   

Thalassophryne megalops Bean & Weed 1910    mega-, large; ops, eye, referring to its “very large” eyes compared to congeners                          

Thalassophryne montevidensis (Berg 1893)    ensis, suffix denoting place: near Montevideo, Uruguay, type locality                      

Thalassophryne nattereri Steindachner 1876    in honor of Johann Natterer (1787-1843), who explored South America and collected specimens for 18 years, including type of this species                                 

Thalassophryne punctata Steindachner 1876    spotted, referring to “small punctiform, sharply defined black spots” on head and sides of body (translation)


Amphichthys Swainson 1839    etymology not explained, perhaps amphi-, amphibian, alluding to Batrachus Bloch & Schneider 1801 (=Batrachoides), frog, an early and widely used generic name for toadfishes; ichthys, fish                             

Amphichthys cryptocentrus (Valenciennes 1837)    cryptos, concealed; centron, thorn or spine, referring to three dorsal-fin spines, hidden under the skin     

Amphichthys rubigenis Swainson 1839    ruber, red; genys, chin, referring to reddish spot on cheeks             

Batrachoides Lacepède 1800    oides, having the form of: batrachus, frog, referring to their “vague resemblance” to that of a frog or toad                  

Batrachoides boulengeri Gilbert & Starks 1904    in honor of ichthyologist-herpetologist George A. Boulenger (1858-1937), whose 1898 and 1899 papers on marine fishes of Ecuador and nearby areas are cited several times by the authors               

Batrachoides gilberti Meek & Hildebrand 1928    patronym not identified but almost certainly in honor of ichthyologist and fisheries biologist Charles H. Gilbert (1859-1928), who studied the fishes of Panama, where this toadfish was collected                                  

Batrachoides goldmani Evermann & Goldsborough 1902    in honor of mammalogist Edward Alphonso Goldman (1873-1946), who helped collect type                   

Batrachoides liberiensis (Steindachner 1867)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Monrovia, Liberia, type locality                      

Batrachoides manglae Cervigón 1964    etymology not explained, presumably referring to manglar, Spanish for mangrove, referring to its habitat (“de la laguna del manglar”) at Punta de Piedras, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela, type locality          

Batrachoides pacifici (Günther 1861)    of the Pacific, presumably referring to its occurrence in the eastern Pacific (Panama to Peru)

Batrachoides surinamensis (Bloch & Schneider 1801)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Suriname, type locality (occurs in western Atlantic from Honduras to Brazil)                                

Batrachoides walkeri Collette & Russo 1981    in honor of fisheries biologist Boyd W. Walker (1917-2001), University of California, Los Angeles, and “long-term student of eastern Pacific fishes, who first recognized that the type might represent an undescribed species and who made available to us the toadfish collections at UCLA”                                   

Batrachoides waltersi Collette & Russo 1981    in honor of ichthyologist Vladimir Walters (1927-1987), “colleague and student of toadfishes, who recognized the distinctness of this species a number of years ago”                             

Opsanus Rafinesque 1818    ops, eye; ano-, upward, i.e., looking up (per Rafinesque), referring to eyes “approximated” on top of head of O. cerapalus (=tau)                              

Opsanus beta (Goode & Bean 1880)    second letter of Greek alphabet, referring to the symbol β Günther (1861) used for the “southern variety” of O. tau (Goode & Bean credited Günther with the name but but “β” is unavailable for either of two reasons: it does not form a word and does not use the Latin alphabet)      

Opsanus dichrostomus Collette 2001    di-, two; chro[ma], color; stomus, mouth, referring to its bicolored mouth (posterior part of lower half of mouth usually pigmented) in specimens >70 mm SL

Opsanus pardus (Goode & Bean 1880)    leopard, referring to yellowish brown body “thickly spotted” (i.e., leopard-like) with dark brown

Opsanus phobetron Walters & Robins 1961    Greek for scarecrow, referring to the “menacing attitude assumed by the fish when its lair is approached”                              

Opsanus tau (Linnaeus 1766)    the letter T, referring to how bones on head when dried show a T-shaped figure                                  

Potamobatrachus Collette 1995    potamos, river, referring to its occurrence in fresh water (Amazon tributaries in Brazil); Batrachus, “first generic name used for toadfishes” (actually, that distinction belongs to Batrachoides, which preceded Batrachus by about a year)                       

Potamobatrachus trispinosus Collette 1995    tri-, three; spinosus, thorny, the only species of toadfish with three subopercular spines                                   

Sanopus Smith 1952    etymology not explained, apparently an anagram of Opsanus, original genus of type species, S. barbatus                      

Sanopus astrifer (Robins & Starck 1965)    aster, star; fero-, to bear, referring to numerous small, white protuberances on dark-brown head and body                         

Sanopus barbatus (Meek & Hildebrand 1928)    bearded, presumably referring to a “row of long fringed dermal flaps on margin of chin”            

Sanopus greenfieldorum Collette 1983    orum, commemorative suffix, plural: in honor of David W. and Teresa Arambula Greenfield, who collected type, suspected it was undescribed, and sent it to Collette for examination                            

Sanopus johnsoni Collette & Starck 1974    in honor of John Seward Johnson I (1895-1983), founder of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (Fort Pierce, Florida, USA) for his “generous and extensive patronage of marine science”                        

Sanopus reticulatus Collette 1983    referring to reticulate color pattern on head and body                   

Sanopus splendidus Collette, Starck & Phillips 1974    bright or shining, the “most brightly colored” member of the genus                                 

Vladichthys Greenfield 2006    Vlad, named for the late Vladimir Walters (1927-1987), known by his colleagues as “Vlad,” who studied toadfishes for many years and discovered that the head musculature of this genus differs from that of Triathalassothia; ichthys, fish                         

Vladichthys gloverensis (Greenfield & Greenfield 1973)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Glovers Reef, Belize, type locality

Subfamily HALOPHRYNINAE              

Allenbatrachus Greenfield 1997    in honor of fisheries biologist George Allen (1923-2011), Humboldt State University (Arcata, California, USA), who introduced Greenfield to ichthyology and encouraged him to pursue a graduate education; batrachus, frog, an early generic term for toadfishes                                 

Allenbatrachus grunniens (Linnaeus 1758)    grunting, presumably referring to its ability to produce sounds when disturbed, especially if removed from the water

Allenbatrachus meridionalis Greenfield & Smith 2004    southern, the southernmost known species of the genus (Madagascar and Reunion)

Allenbatrachus reticulatus (Steindachner 1870)    net-like or netted, referring to numerous dark-brown spots, “which are interwoven like a net” (translation)                         

Austrobatrachus Smith 1949    auster, south wind, referring to distribution of A. foedus off South America and South Africa; batrachus, frog, an early generic term for toadfishes                       

Austrobatrachus foedus (Smith 1947)    foul, filthy or detestable, allusion not explained nor evident                             

Austrobatrachus iselesele Greenfield 2012    Zulu (or isiZulu) for toad, referring to the common name of fishes in the family, and reflecting its distribution in Park Rynie, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa                                 

Barchatus Smith 1952    etymology not explained, apparently an anagram of Batrachus (=Batrachoides), an early generic name for toadfishes and the genus in which type species (B. cirrhosus) had been placed at the time (see also Chatrabus)                     

Barchatus cirrhosus (Klunzinger 1871)    full of curls, presumably referring to “very small skin cirrhi … scattered across the body” (translation)

Barchatus indicus Greenfield 2014    Indian, referring to its occurrence in the Indian Ocean                                 

Batrachomoeus Ogilby 1908    batrachus, frog; [h]omoios, like, i.e., referring to its frog- or toad-like appearance                                    

Batrachomoeus dahli (Rendahl 1922)    in honor of Norwegian zoologist and explorer Knut Dahl (1871-1951), who collected type                             

Batrachomoeus dubius (Shaw 1790)    doubtful, allusion not explained, perhaps referring to ambivalence about its originally being placed in the monkfish genus Lophius (Lophiiformes: Lophiidae)                                

Batrachomoeus occidentalis Hutchins 1976    western, referring to its distribution off the coast of Western Australia                         

Batrachomoeus rubricephalus Hutchins 1976    ruber, red; cephalus, head, referring to pinkish color of head when fresh

Batrachomoeus trispinosus (Günther 1861)    tri-, three; spinosus, spiny, referring to three spines on gill covers                  

Batrichthys Smith 1934    batrachus, frog, an early generic name for toadfishes; ichthys, fish, i.e., frogfish                                   

Batrichthys albofasciatus Smith 1934    albus, white; fasciatus, banded, referring to five “slightly sinuous white cross-bars” on body, the posterior four extending to soft dorsal fin

Batrichthys apiatus (Valenciennes 1837)    bee-like or of bees, referring to pattern on anterior part of head, which resembles a “cake of bees” (translation), i.e., honeycomb or German bee sting cake (Bienenstich)

Bifax Greenfield, Mee & Randall 1994    Latin for two-faced, referring to flaps with eye spots that extend from end of maxilla on each side of mouth, which look like a second face, and to the figurative meaning of two-faced, trying to deceive, referring to how the eye spots may make it look much larger to potential predators when viewed head on                  

Bifax lacinia Greenfield, Mee & Randall 1994    Latin for lappet, referring to distinctive flaps with eye spots that extend from end of maxilla on each side of mouth                   

Chatrabus Smith 1949    etymology not explained, apparently an anagram of Batrachus (=Batrachoides), an early generic name for toadfishes (see also Barchatus)                                   

Chatrabus damaranus (Barnard 1927)    anus, belonging to: Damaraland, a name given to the north-central part of what is now called Namibia, and/or the Damaras, the ethnic people who lived there, referring to type locality at Walfish (now Walvis) Bay                       

Chatrabus felinus (Smith 1952)    feline or cat-like, allusion not explained nor evident

Chatrabus hendersoni (Smith 1952)    in honor of Master David Henderson, who found type specimen “thrown up by a storm” in Algoa Bay, South Africa [as used here, “Master” probably refers to a boy under age 12]                 

Chatrabus melanurus (Barnard 1927)    melanos, black; oura, tail, referring to “dark” tail, its distal half or three-quarters with a “light” margin                   

Colletteichthys Greenfield 2006    in honor of Bruce B. Collette, Director, National Marine Fisheries Service Systematics Laboratory, “who has contributed greatly to toadfish systematics over the years”; ichthys, fish                      

Colletteichthys dussumieri (Valenciennes 1837)    in honor of Jean-Jacques Dussumier (1792-1883), French voyager and merchant, who collected type                          

Colletteichthys flavipinnis Greenfield, Bineesh & Akhilesh 2012    flavis, yellow; pinna, fin, referring to its yellow-orange fins

Colletteichthys occidentalis Greenfield 2012    western, the westernmost member of the genus (Arabian Peninsula and northern Arabian Sea)                      

Halobatrachus Ogilby 1908    halos, sea; batrachus, frog, i.e., sea-frog                          

Halobatrachus didactylus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)    di-, two; daktylos, finger, presumably referring to two rays of ventral fins (“pinnis ventralibus didactylis”), compared to three or more rays on other species then included in Batrachus (=Batrachoides)                                   

Halophryne Gill 1863    halos, sea; phryne, toad, i.e., sea-toad [often misspelled Halophyrne]                         

Halophryne diemensis (Lesueur 1824)    ensis, suffix denoting place: off the coast of Van Diemen’s Land, pre-1856 name for Tasmania, Australia, type locality                              

Halophryne hutchinsi Greenfield 1998    in honor of ichthyologist J. Barry Hutchins (b. 1946), Western Australian Museum, for his earlier work on the genus and other toadfishes

Halophryne ocellatus Hutchins 1974    ocellated, referring to white ocelli with prominent dark-brown margins scattered on head and sides, very numerous in large specimens, merging to form blotches                               

Halophryne queenslandiae (De Vis 1882)    of Queensland, Australia, where type locality (Dunk Island) is situated                             

Perulibatrachus Roux & Whitley 1972    perula, pocket, referring to funnel-shaped axillary pouch; batrachus, frog and an old generic name for toadfishes[replacement for Parabatrachus Roux 1971, preoccupied by Parabatrachus Owen 1853 in fossil fishes]                      

Perulibatrachus aquilonarius Greenfield 2005    northern, the northernmost member of the genus (Indian Ocean off Madras, India)  

Perulibatrachus elminensis (Bleeker 1863)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Elmina, Guinea, type locality (occurs in eastern Atlantic from Ghana to Namibia)

Perulibatrachus kilburni Greenfield 1996    in honor of Richard Kilburn (1942-2013), Natal Museum (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), who collected type from a dredge haul during his malacological studies                             

Perulibatrachus rossignoli (Roux 1957)    in honor of oceanographer Martial Rossignol, who collaborated with Roux on a marine faunal survey of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo, where this toadfish occurs                              

Riekertia Smith 1952    ia, belonging to: Dr. C. Riekert (no other information available), Bizana, Eastern Cape, South Africa, who “sent valuable specimens”                    

Riekertia ellisi Smith 1952    in honor of Mr. P. V. Ellis (no other information available), Bizana, Eastern Cape, South Africa, “who caught this fish”                    

Triathalassothia Fowler 1943    tri-, three, referring to three strong, concealed and close-set dorsal-fin spines; Thalassothia (=Thalassophryne), presumed to be a closely related genus at the time                                  

Triathalassothia argentina (Berg 1897)    referring to country of type locality, Mar del Plata, Atlantic coast, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Triathalassothia lambaloti Menezes & Figueiredo 1998    in honor of the late Raoul P. Lambalot, Fish Section, Museum of Zoology of the University of São Paulo, for depositing specimens of marine fishes he collected along the São Paulo coast