Body balloon-shaped and inflatable; loose skin with small spinelike scales. Mouth large, nearly vertical, with numerous small villiform teeth. Gill opening pore-shaped and located above and behind pectoral fin base. Dorsal spinous portion with three isolated spines on head, the first (illicium) short and modified into an angling apparatus, the other two spines small and embedded beneath skin. Pectoral fins limb-like, resembling elbow, their unbranched rays ending in jointed fleshy tips. Lateral line within open canals, especially noticeable on head.
orange-rosy with golden spots on head and body; fins pink.
10-30 cm (max. 40 cm).
Shape and color distinguish this species from all other Mediterranean fish.
BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Feeds on fish and invertebrates, which are attracted to the angling apparatus. Eggs distributed in single, floating gelatinous mass.
deep substrates of continental shelf and slope.