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.
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.