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Anglerfish vs. Monkfish: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 6, 2023
Anglerfish are deep-sea predators known for their lure, used to attract prey, while monkfish, a type of anglerfish, refers specifically to the shallow-water species prized as food.

Key Differences

Anglerfish are notable for their bioluminescent lure, used to attract prey in the deep sea, while monkfish, often confused with anglerfish, are bottom-dwelling fish commonly found in the North Atlantic.
Despite both having a grotesque appearance, anglerfish typically inhabit extreme ocean depths, whereas monkfish are found in coastal waters and are a popular delicacy in cuisine.
The term "anglerfish" encompasses a broad range of species, including those not used for culinary purposes, whereas "monkfish" usually refers to the ones that are edible.
Both fish are characterized by their large mouths and ability to camouflage, but anglerfish generally have a more dramatic method of predation due to their unique lure.

Comparison Chart


Deep-sea environments
Coastal waters


Broader term for the family
Specifically refers to edible species


Bioluminescent lure
Camouflage and ambush

Culinary Value

Not commonly eaten
Considered a delicacy

Anglerfish and Monkfish Definitions


A deep-sea fish with a bioluminescent lure.
The anglerfish uses its glowing lure as a deadly trap for its prey.


A bottom-dwelling fish with a flat body and large head.
The monkfish lay in wait, perfectly blended with the seabed.


Predators with a distinctive fishing-pole-like protrusion.
In the dark ocean, the anglerfish's protrusion is a beacon of death.


Known for its meaty tail, often used in culinary dishes.
Monkfish tail is a gourmet's delight, often compared to lobster in texture.


Deep-sea dwellers with the ability to engulf large prey.
The gaping mouth of an anglerfish is a terrifying sight in the ocean depths.


They camouflage and use a lure to attract prey.
The monkfish's lure wiggled enticingly, mimicking the movements of a worm.


A group of fish known for their mouth size and tooth structure.
The anglerfish can engulf prey almost as large as itself.


Frequently found in the coastal waters of the Atlantic.
Fishermen in the North Atlantic often target monkfish for their prized flesh.


Any of various marine fishes of the order Lophiiformes, having a long dorsal fin ray that is suspended over the mouth and serves as a lure to attract prey.


Possesses an extendable jaw and needle-like teeth.
A monkfish's jaw can extend to snap up unsuspecting prey.


Any fish of the bony fish order Lophiiformes, which have an outgrowth they wiggle to lure and catch their prey.


See goosefish.


Fishes having large mouths with a wormlike filament attached for luring prey


Any large bottom-dwelling anglerfish of the genus Lophius, such as Lophius piscatorius, of the Atlantic, having a large head and mouth.


Angel sharks of the genus Squatina.


The angel fish (Squatina).


Flesh of a large-headed anglerfish of the Atlantic waters of North America


Fishes having large mouths with a wormlike filament attached for luring prey


Sharks with broad flat bodies and winglike pectoral fins but that swim the way sharks do


What distinguishes anglerfish in appearance?

They have a distinctive protrusion from their forehead that acts as a lure.

What are anglerfish?

Anglerfish are a family of fish known for their unique hunting method involving a bioluminescent lure.

Where do anglerfish live?

They mostly live in deep-sea environments.

Are anglerfish edible?

While some species can be eaten, they are not commonly sought after for food.

What are monkfish?

Monkfish refers to several species of anglerfish, particularly those in the genus Lophius, known for being edible.

Where can monkfish be found?

Monkfish are usually found in the coastal waters of the North Atlantic.

What part of the monkfish is commonly eaten?

The tail meat is highly prized and consumed.

Are monkfish endangered?

Some monkfish populations have been overfished but are not currently listed as endangered.

Can you see anglerfish in shallow water?

Typically, no, anglerfish are deep-sea fish, but monkfish, a type of anglerfish, do dwell in shallower waters.

How do monkfish hunt?

They use camouflage and an internal lure to ambush prey.

How do anglerfish reproduce?

Some species involve the male attaching to the female permanently, receiving sustenance and providing sperm.

Do anglerfish exhibit sexual dimorphism?

Yes, males are often much smaller and sometimes parasitic on females.

Do monkfish have a lure like anglerfish?

Yes, monkfish have a modified spine that acts as a lure.

Is anglerfish fishing a large industry?

No, due to their habitat, anglerfish are not typically targeted by fisheries, but monkfish are.

Are monkfish aggressive?

They can be aggressive predators, but they pose no danger to humans.

What is the biggest threat to monkfish populations?

Overfishing and habitat destruction are the main threats to monkfish.

What do anglerfish eat?

They are carnivorous, eating fish and other sea creatures that are attracted by their lure.

How do monkfish taste?

Monkfish meat is firm and mild, often compared to lobster or scallops.

Can anglerfish be kept in aquariums?

Their deep-sea habitat makes them unsuitable for most aquariums.

Are monkfish and anglerfish the same?

Monkfish are a type of anglerfish, but not all anglerfish are monkfish.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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