AskDefine | Define monkfish

Dictionary Definition



1 flesh of a large-headed anglerfish of the Atlantic waters of North America
2 fishes having large mouths with a wormlike filament attached for luring prey [syn: goosefish, angler, anglerfish, angler fish, lotte, allmouth, Lophius Americanus]
3 sharks with broad flat bodies and winglike pectoral fins but that swim the way sharks do [syn: angel shark, angelfish, Squatina squatina] [also: monkfishes (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



monkfish (plural monkfish or monkfishes)
  1. Any large bottom-dwelling anglerfish of the genus Lophius, such as Lophius piscatorius, of the Atlantic, having a large head and mouth.
  2. Angel sharks of the genus Squatina.



Extensive Definition

Monkfish is the English name of a number of types of fish in the northwest Atlantic, most notably the species of the anglerfish genus Lophius and the angelshark genus Squatina. The term is also occasionally used for a European sea monster more often called a sea monk. In Europe and North America, the texture of the tail meat of fish of the genus Lophius, also known as goosefish or monkfish, is sometimes compared to lobster tail and called "Poor Man's Lobster."
Monkfish is the most common English name for the genus Lophius in the northwest Atlantic but goosefish is used as the equivalent term on the eastern coast of North America. Monkfish have three long filaments sprouting from the middle of the head; these are the detached and modified three first spines of the anterior dorsal fin. As in most anglerfish species, the longest filament is the first, which terminates in an irregular growth of flesh, the esca. This modified fin ray is movable in all directions. This esca is used as a lure to attract other fishes, which monkfish then typically swallow whole. Experiments have shown, however, that whether the prey has been attracted to the lure or not is not strictly relevant, as the action of the jaws is an automatic reflex triggered by contact with the esca.
It grows to a length of more than 5 ft; specimens of 3 ft are common.
Two species Lophius piscatorius and Lophius budegassa are found in north-western Europe and referred to as monkfish, with L. piscatorius by far the most common species around the British Isles.
A second group of fish also known as monkfish are members of the genus Squatina, in the angel shark family Squatinidae. These are of somewhat similar shape to the anglerfish, but completely unrelated; like the true sharks, they are elasmobranchs. These fish are only of minor significance for human consumption, though they are endangered because they are caught as bycatch by trawlers. According to Seafood Watch, monkfish is currently on the list of fish that American consumers who are sustainability minded should avoid.


See also

monkfish in Catalan: Lophius
monkfish in Danish: Havtaske
monkfish in German: Seeteufel
monkfish in French: Lophius
monkfish in Japanese: アンコウ
monkfish in Dutch: Hozemond
monkfish in Norwegian: Breiflabb
monkfish in Polish: Żabnica (ryba)
monkfish in Portuguese: Tamboril
monkfish in Finnish: Merikrotti
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