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Pale toadfish belong to a family known commonly as fathead sculpins. The tadpole shaped body has loose scaleless skin and the fish can grow to about 60 cm. Pale toadfish are endemic to New Zealand waters and are widely distributed in depths of 250 to 900 m. It is thought that they feed by burrowing in mud on the seafloor, with their eyes and mouth protruding, ready to catch passing prey. Three other toadfish species are found in New Zealand waters.