One of the most terrifying creatures of the deep is the anglerfish. Even if you don”t know much about the anglerfish, you certainly recognize the iconic dangling, bioluminescent light on the top of its head, which is used for hunting. However, that”s just one species of anglerfish. There”s actually a variety of anglerfish species lurking in the deep, and they”re all equally as freaky.
1. Black Devil Anglerfish
The black devil anglerfish is the stereotypical anglerfish. Female black devils have the distinctive bioluminescent lure attached to their heads. The lure shines brightly in the pitch black ocean where the creature resides. Once prey gets close enough to the mesmerizing light, the predator”s razor-sharp teeth snatch up the hapless fish.
2. The Leafvent Anglerfish
This cute little bugger is renowned for its strange mating habits. It”s one of those rare fish species that mates for life, but in a very different way than you probably think. When a male meets a female in the wild, the male will bite into the female and attach himself to her.
Once he”s attached, the male releases an enzyme that fuses his body to the female. Eventually the male loses his teeth, jaws, eyes, and nostrils.
At this point, the male is pretty much just a pair of testes chemically joined to the female. From then on, whenever the female is ovulating, a hormone in her blood tells the attached male to start producing sperm to fertilize the eggs.
3. Bearded Anglerfish
Like the black devil anglerfish, the female bearded anglerfish has a bioluminescent lure to attract its prey. However, unlike the black devil, the bearded anglerfish”s lure branches out from the bottom of its head in a complex pattern. To an unsuspecting fish, the lure might look like a piece of seaweed except when they get close enough to check it out. When that happens, they quickly find themselves locked between the creature”s fangs.
The monkfish is another kind of anglerfish, only deadlier. These fish like to lay in wait on the ocean floor and dangle their lure in front of passing prey. They have some of the best camouflage in the animal kingdom and are very hard to spot. As soon as another fish comes into contact with the monkfish”s lure, it lashes out at lightning speed, making escape impossible.
5. Warty Frogfish
The warty frogfish is a type of anglerfish that prefers shallow waters near coral reefs. The frogfish is known as an aggressive mimic, meaning that it blends in with its environment perfectly. It”s almost impossible to identify the frogfish as anything more than a piece of coral until you”re almost right on top of it. The frog fish uses its tail to attract prey, then strikes when the moment is right.
(via: Green Buzzz)
While these anglerfish might be terrifying, they are a fascinating example of the sophistication that can result from millions of years of evolution. They may be brutal and ugly, but they are perfectly adapted for the environments they inhabit.
There”s plenty more deep sea creepiness where that came from. Check it out!