Dark grey to brown color with huge heads and mouths filled with translucent teeth.
Bony fish with a fleshy lure called an esca that acts as a natural lure.
Some Anglerfish that live in the deepest seas collect bioluminescent bacteria in their esca. Once the bacterium becomes very dense their esca omits a glow that attracts prey.
Most bottom feeding Anglerfish have pectoral fins, which act like feet so the fish can walk on the ocean floor.
Habitat and range:
Most Anglerfish live in the deep sea or ‘aphotic zone’.
Found mostly in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Spain, Portugal, Norway, and the UK.
Females are mature to mate from ages 5-9.
Because the males are much smaller they have a very hard time attracting and finding food so survival is dependent on them finding a female right away.
The males quickly attach themselves to the females by biting them and releasing an enzyme that attaches the skin of his mouth to her body, fusing the pair.
The male then slowly dies. First losing its digestive organs, then brain, heart, eyes, and ends as nothing more than a pair of gonads, which releases sperm in response to hormones in the female’s bloodstream indicating egg release.
A female can carry six or more males on her body at a time.
The males were first thought to be parasites on the fish, but it was later learned that they were male Anglerfish.
Food and behavior:
Carnivore that eats other fish
Can eat seabirds off the waters surface.
Known to swallow food whole twice its size with it’s expandable jaw and stomach.
Reasons for endangerment:
In the western Atlantic it has been over fished for several years for the highly desirable tail meat, which is considered a delicacy in Korea and Japan.
They have a life history that makes them vulnerable to fishing and there is little or no data available to show that the stocks are healthy and are being fished at a sustainable rate.
They are commonly sourced from over fished and depleted stocks, or are being fished at such a high rate that stocks are being depleted too rapidly.
The fishing methods used to catch the fish are often highly destructive to other ocean creatures and habitats by the use of gillnets that unintentionally gather other fish which are then left dying on boat decks or tossed dead into the ocean.
In 2010 Greenpeace International added the Anglerfish to its seafood red list, urging supermarkets not to sell it.
There is not sufficient research on the animal to identify if the extinction of it would disrupt the ocean’s ecosystem or not.
I think that with more research we would be able to provide protected waters for these fish to thrive and eventually repopulate to greater numbers.
Although I do not personally agree with fishing, perhaps farming these fish in specific areas would help increase their numbers and eventually sway people from fishing them from the deep sea.
1. Anglerfish. (2010, February 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia . Retrieved February 16, 2010, from http://en. wikipedia . org/w/index . php ?title=Anglerfish& oldid=344246151 .
2. National Geographic. (n.d) Anglerfish Retrieved February 16, 2010, from http://animals. nationalgeographic .com/animals/fish/anglerfish.html .
3. Greenpeace International Seafood Red List. (n.d) Anglerfish or monkfish or goosefish. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from http://www. greenpeace .org/international/seafood/red-list-of-species .