The deep sea anglerfish, one of over 200 anglerfish species, inhabits our great oceans over one mile under the ocean’s surface! This means that they are completely derived of sunlight, and rely on the light attached to their heads to see, hunt for prey, and attract mates. Deep sea anglerfish are about 7 inches long and are typically medium-sized when compared to other anglerfish species. They typically feast upon crustaceans and small fish in the deep waters.
Physical Attributes and Advantages
The deep sea anglerfish is dark in color, and it contains a growth stemming from its head known as the illicium. The illicium contains a light at its tip known as the esca. Due to the lack of its preferred prey in the depths of the ocean, the deep sea anglerfish possesses a very large stomach and mouth, as well as long, sharp teeth. Combined with these evolutionary advantages, the deep sea anglerfish’s flexibility allows the anglerfish to eat prey up to twice its size.
The Light in the Depths
The deep sea anglerfish’s esca contains bacteria that powers the light. The light is used as a luminous lure (in order to attract prey), and once prey is close, the anglerfish devours it.
Here comes the twist: only female anglerfish contain the major evolutionary advantages stated above. Male anglerfishes are typically much smaller than females (around 1 inch long), and their sole purpose once they hatch is to locate a female anglerfish and reproduce. Concerning reproduction in most anglerfish species, males are parasitic and stay attached to their mate forever. In contrast, deep sea male anglerfish attach only for a short time when reproducing; afterwards, they proceed to find other mates.
Due to the fact that we do not eat deep sea anglerfish (as well as the depth of their habitat), there is no evidence that humans have any impact on the deep sea anglerfish species. Although, if the ocean environment were to change due to heavy water pollution in the future, the naturally rare deep sea anglerfish species could be at risk of endangerment.