Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region: from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian and Society Islands. In Australia recorded from around Geraldton in Western Australia, across the north of the continent, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to at least Sydney in New South Wales, and including Lord Howe Island.
Frequents shallow, sheltered reef, often associated with sponges. Depth to 75 m, usually to 16 m.
Colour variable, sometimes has a black phase with white pectoral ray tips. Commonly orange to pinkish orange. Skin may be sponge-like in appearance and there is often a dark or scruffy saddle marking down the sides from the shoulder. Bony part of illicium (or rod) with numerous dark crossbands, esca (lure) an elongate tuft of flattened appendage. In this image the esca is a white blob high on the forehead and this is used to lure small fish which it swallows whole. Grows to 30 cm, this specimen around 100 mm long.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.52.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Antennarius-pictus.html. Accessed 16/11/2018.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Antennarius+pictus. Accessed 16/11/2018.