Monkfish are tan to chocolate brown sometimes a deep purple in color with a faded underbody. Their body is narrow and tapered with a flattened, broad head that supports an enormous mouth. Both of their jaws have hundreds of long needle-like teeth. Their lower jaw, head and sides are edged with a unique fridge of fleshy flaps- it resembles a beard of moss. Distinctive pectoral fin, resembling a pair of small arms, help them to move along the bottom. Several slender spines and two well developed dorsal fins can be found on top to their body. The two well-developed fins found on top of their head resemble antenna and attracts their prey towards their mouth.
Monkfish can grow to a length of more than 5 feet, but monkfish of 3 feet are common. The largest monkfish caught on record weighed 219 pounds. Monkfish are bottom dwellers and prefer soft or muddy bottoms. They dwell in shallow waters up to waters of 1,200 feet. Monkfish eat anything including their own. Monkfish can eat whole turtles.
Monkfish is considered “poor man’s lobster” the tail is dense, sweet and has a similar texture of lobster. Monkfish livers are a staple in Japan used for making soups during the winter season.
Monkfish has only 14 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.
Learn more at FishWatch U.S Seafood Facts
*Illustration by Roz Davis, provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries
program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.