Science Articles

BIOLOGY OF DEEP SEA CREATURES LIKE THE ANGLER FISH

A deep sea is a place full of mysteries and new marine life species.

BIOLOGY OF DEEP SEA CREATURES LIKE THE ANGLER FISH

There are various parts of the Earth’s ocean that still remains unexplored due to the depth. A deep sea is a place full of mysteries and new marine life species. The deeper the researcher look, the most unbelievable new species are discovered. For instance, Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, which is the deepest part of the ocean known at estimated 36,201 feet depth, has an inhospitable environment surrounding it. The area, despite being completely devoid of oxygen, light and food resources sports some of the exotic marine life species.

There are amazing and new creatures that can be seen in the deep sea. Some of them are

  • The Ghostfish: This is a new species of snailfish that use little pigment in order to live life in the dark. They lack body in order to withstand Mariana Trench’s pressure.
  • The Spookfish: The fish has a dome-shaped transparent heard along with two barrel-shaped eyes. These are opportunistic hunters and remain motionless most of the times.
  • The Vampire Shark: These are basically living fossils which have spent millions of years without undergoing any evolution. They can detect smallest of electrical currents and their jaw lurches forward in order to catch a prey.

INTRODUCTION TO ANGLERFISH

The biological name for the anglerfish or monkfish or even goosefish is Lophius piscatorius. It belongs to the family Lophiidae. It has an unusual appearance and is found in coastal water of Atlantic, Barents Sea, Strait of Gibraltar, Black Sea and Mediterranean sea. It looks like it just has a head but it has a flat body along with a tail. It has really pointed and long teeth. It doesn’t have any scales. The skin of the fish is extremely rough and dark.

The upper half of their body sports an enormous crescent-shaped mouth. Between the eyes, they have three long spines. The frontal spine works for catching a prey within the reach. There are two dorsal and ventral fins placed on the tail. The pectoral fins are two, large and have to fill slits behind them. The pectoral and pelvic fins help the fish to walk in the bottom of the ocean. It camouflages itself in the ocean by hiding in the sand and seaweed. It can grow to the length of more than two metres.

The fish is said to catch the prey by lure. The stomach of anglerfish can be expanded and they can swallow large fishes too. They might look unpleasing but they are commercially sold for eating. Their tail is known to be the most appetising part of the fish. They are sold in the market- fresh, frozen, fried, steam, broiled, microwaved, boiled, baked, steamed etc. It is sold under the name of ‘queue de Lotte’ in Europe after removing its skin. But since they have a large size, they cannot adapt to the home aquariums.

BIOLOGY OF THE ANGLERFISH

Anglerfish is known to occur mostly on sandy and muddy bottoms from the coast with a depth of more than 1000 metres. It basically lies in the sediment, hiding in order to wait for catching the prey. It lifts its fishing filament and attracts the prey. Seabirds and other fishes fall prey to the anglerfishes. This happens because the prey gets drawn in by the sudden inrush of water.

Anglerfish spawn in the months of May and June in British waters while June and August in North Atlantic. They release more than a million eggs in a band of ten-metre long mucus to float in the ocean. The eggs look exactly similar to the parent anglerfish. It takes four years for males to mature at 40 cm while six years for a female at 70 cm.

These can be found in Black, Mediterranean, and Eastern Atlantic Seas. The anglerfishes like to reside at the depths of more than 1500 feet. Since the pressure of the ocean is way too high at the bottom, anglerfishes have unique characteristics that give it predominance over others. It shares a symbiotic relationship with bioluminescent bacteria which helps it in attracting prey and mates along with avoiding danger.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ANGLER FISHES

  • It can go on to weigh up to 90 lbs.
  • They are called anglerfishes because they capture their prey by dangling their fishing rod in front of the prey.
  • It has no ribs, retractable jaw and helps them to eat preys which can be larger than themselves.
  • The female fishes are larger than the male ones.
  • They can live up to more than 20 years.
  • The male anglers were not found by the scientists initially. Later, the scientists realised that the male anglers were attached to the female anglers as parasites.
  • The movie ‘Finding Nemo’ features a guest appearance by anglerfish.
  • L. Piscatorius is only one of the 200 species of anglerfishes.