These are some of the most fascinating sea creatures to be found. For one thing, the females have a specialized dorsal fin that grows from the center of the head. This is long and ends in a fleshy part that can wiggle; this is their fish bait. There are more than two hundred anglerfish species. Some dwell in the deep sea, while the others prefer shallower waters. The deep sea dwellers even emit light (called bioluminescence) from their fish bait. Once prey enters the anglerfish’s mouth, it closes its mouth, trapping the prey inside.
Some deep-dwelling anglerfish even have the ability to walk on the ocean floor. The jaw and stomach are extendable, too, due to their thin and flexible bones. This allows an anglerfish to swallow prey even twice its size, and considering that they range from about 8 inches (20 centimeters) to 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, that can be pretty big!
In some species, too, the females are a lot larger than the males. Some of these engage in what’s called “parasitic mating” — where the male attaches himself to the female and creates a bond. The male bites into the female’s skin and, using enzymes to digest the skin of his mouth and the attached area of the female’s body, fuses with the female right down to the blood vessels. The male then receives his required nutrients through the female and, in return, gives her his sperm. After this fusing, the male will grow larger and will remain living until the female dies. The male in these species apparently lives solely to mate with a female. This is just one of their bizarre ways of mating — some of them only go halfway (and don’t completely fuse), and some of them don’t do this at all.
Angler Fish are featured in the following book:
25 Deep Sea Creatures
The YouTube video playlist below contains a video about Angler Fish. Details of the videos featured are underneath.
- World’s Weirdest : Weird Killer of the Deep by NatGeoWild
- Stunning Anglerfish Hunting With Its Hook by HighFlyingDutchman
- Fishing in the deep: observations of a deep-sea anglerfish by MBARIvideo
- Amazing and weird creatures exhibit bioluminescence – Blue Planet – BBC Earth