Oyster Toadfish (Opsanus Tau)

What is Oyster Toadfish (Opsanus Tau)?

The oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, also known as the ugly toad, oyster cracker, oyster catcher, and bar dog, is a Northwest Atlantic fish belonging to the Batrachoididae family. The maximum length of this toadfish is 43.2 cm (17 inches), but rarely exceeds 38 cm (15 inches). The world record size of this species is 19.2 inches, or 48.76 cm. They are usually pale yellow with a pattern of diagonal brown stripes.

This species can live in harsh conditions and can survive almost without food. It is an omnivorous animal. Common prey includes crustaceans, molluscs, amphipods, squid, and other smaller fish. Oyster toadfish rely on camouflage to catch food; they wait motionlessly for their prey to approach, and then attack by surprise. They can be found near the coast from Maine to Florida.

This fish has a unique "fog horn" sound, which is used by males to attract females during the mating season, from April to October. The vocalizing (sound wave) muscle attached to its swimming bladder is the fastest known vertebrate muscle. With the sound of Fog Horn, the female enters the nest, lays eggs, and then leaves (toadfish lays the largest eggs of all the Chesapeake Bay fish). The male fertilizes the eggs; they hatch in about a month. When the eggs hatch, the juvenile fish will attach to the yolk for a period of time. When the egg yolk is absorbed for energy, the young toadfish will learn to swim. Even if the cubs have begun to swim, the adults will still protect the cubs.

Toadfish has a poisonous spine on its first dorsal fin. The pain of this venom has been compared to a bee or wasp sting.

In 1998, NASA sent the oyster toadfish into space to study the effect of microgravity on the development of otolith organs. The study found that there is almost no difference between land development and space development.

What Is Oyster Toadfish?

Also known as…Ugly Toad, Oyster Cracker, Oyster Catcher, Bar Dog, Granny Fish, Orange Crush

Oyster toadfish is one of the ugly fish in our waters. They have a broad flat head, a big mouth and many small teeth. They have strong jaws and can be used to open or crush clams and oysters. It is recommended not to put your fingers close to the mouth or stick them in the mouth. They have no scales and their skin is sticky. There are spines and bony protrusions on the back of the head. The oyster toad is yellowish brown with slightly orange. They can live in harsh water environments and can only survive on very little food when necessary. They may be a nuisance fish, living on the rocks and structures of the Indus entrance, Roosevelt entrance, Meses landing, interior and exterior walls, shipwrecks and reef sites in Delaware Bay.

Their common prey includes crustaceans, molluscs, amphipods, squid, and smaller fish. They rely on camouflage to ambush their prey because they wait motionlessly for an attack. They are from Miami, Maine. They can easily open oysters with their powerful jaws, which are considered a nuisance by oyster farmers. They taste quite delicious, and as far as we know, they are one of the few fish that have been sent to space for research by NASA. It is not difficult to catch these fish because they eat everything, but sand fleas and scylla seem to be their preferred bait, and they can even bite the fish.

Oyster toadfish diet and size

The oyster toadfish is an omnivorous animal. Their common prey includes: crustaceans, mollusks, amphipods, squid and other smaller fish.

Oyster toadfish are about 17 inches in length, and they rarely exceed 15 inches in length.

Interesting facts about oyster toadfish

Oyster toadfish get their name from their similarities to toads. Their scaleless brown skin is covered with thick mucus and sometimes warts.
Compared to any fish in the Chesapeake Bay, the oyster toadfish spawns the largest in this area.
Oyster toadfish can live in quite harsh conditions, can tolerate garbage and contaminated water, and can survive for a long time without water.
Oyster toad fish is edible! But they are rarely eaten because of their offensive appearance.
As early as 1998, NASA sent oyster toadfish into space to study the influence of microgravity on the development of otolith organs.

Oyster toadfish fishing technology

When fishing for oyster toadfish, they can and will catch the bait very quickly. Baits like squid, clams, bloodworms and skinned crabs can lure them well. Although most anglers despise toadfish because they are often caught accidentally, don’t go with the wind when you go fishing, because the dorsal fin of the oyster toadfish has a strong, sharp jaw and sharp venomous spines. . Not exactly the prey you expected, is it?

Habitat and distribution of oyster toadfish

Benthic fish, similar species, such as oyster toadfish, are found around oyster reefs, but in the warmer months, they also inhabit shipwrecks, debris, rocks, and other dark and hidden shallow waters, but in deeper rivers in winter .

There are plenty of fish in the Chesapeake Bay all year round. They often appear in the Lower Middle Bay area.

Oyster toadfish can also be located near the coast from Maine to Florida.