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Angler Fish Facts – Mystery of the Deep

Depending on who you ask, the anglerfish is either one of the most interesting deep-sea fish on the planet, or the most terrifying. There are roughly 200 different species of this fish that roam the world waters and occupy water depths of about 3000 ft.

This fish has gotten much notoriety as the “Sea Devil” in the entertainment world and can be found on the pages of comic books, in movies such as “Finding Nemo” and even on the cover of TIME Magazine.

Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts about this fish and why they are such a unique species in our oceans.

We offer charter fishing trips, whale watching excursion, sport fishing trips, private charters and water activities on the central coast of California. If you’re interested click here to learn more.

Angler Fish Facts #1

Let’s talk about their appearance. As one of the most distinguishing factors of this species, the anglerfish might look to you like it’s gotten in some kind of fight.

In all seriousness, it’s outer flesh membrane has an uneven texture that looks thick, marked up and maybe even scarred.

Some of these ‘scars’ are tiny organs that help the fish navigate in its near freezing black environment.

The females sport a spiny dorsal fin that hangs ominously over their large crescent mouths. This spine is an organ and called esca which emits light known as a photophore with the help of bacteria.

This organ is often used to lure in its prey and is used for hunting. The body of this fish was not designed for speed and is usually seen (not often) slowly chugging along in the water.

Anglerfish eyes are very small structures on their larger frames and are not very helpful in their dark environments. They rely on their senses to move around, hunt and eat.

We can’t forget to mention the Angler fish’s teeth. These teeth are translucent needle-like structures and frame the anglerfish’s mouth.

They are more playable than many other fish teeth as they are always working to redirect prey into the digestive tract.

Angler Fish Facts #2

Let’s talk about the female/male dynamic. Unfortunately, the males in this equation lose big time as their sole purpose for living is to find a female and mate with her.

This is no ordinary interaction. Once a male finds a female partner, he will literally latch onto her with his teeth where his flesh will eventually become a part of hers.

He will lose all of his main organs with exception to the testes for reproduction. A female has been known to carry anywhere from 3-6 male structures in her lifetime.

The male anglerfish carries out a very parasitic-like life with his host female.

Angler Fish Facts #3

Let’s talk about their behaviors. Some might say that the anglerfish is rather lazy due to its slow movements and, not exactly, sleek body composition.

The anglerfish will slowly mill around waiting for their prey to come to them. Their jaws can extend to accommodate prey two times the size of their frame.

Speaking of that frame, they can store food in their bodies which help them survive in their stark, food scarce environments.

This also makes sense considering these fish can weigh in around 100 lb at maturity.

These fish typically roam the ocean floor and are not very picky about the food that comes their way. This means that they will eat anything carnivorous in nature from crustaceans to any passing by fish.

Angler Fish Facts #4

Let’s talk about their mouth. The angler fish has a huge mouth, featuring sharply pointed teeth in rows. The rows are arranged in two rows, where the front teeth are much larger than the back row.

The teeth of the angler fish are hinged for maximum bite and to push the prey down they the hatchet. The second row of teeth feature much smaller and less sharp teeth.

This makes sense as the large teeth puncture and the smaller teeth allow the angler to break up the skin of the fish it’s eating.

Angler Fish Facts #5

Let’s talk about if their dangerous. A human can never reach the depths of the where the angler fish lives, so no they are not dangerous to humans at all.

If actually impossible, like physically impossible for a human to be able to withstand the pressure at the sea level where the angler fish lives.

Typically they live in the areas below 6600 feet below the surface of the ocean. And they live completely in darkness, that is the area they inhabit and at the depth they’re at, they see no sunlight.

A final note – People often wonder if this fish is any good on a plate. You can find the anglerfish on the market most often in Korea or Japan where they fetch a luxury price tag.

Those who have eaten an anglerfish say that the tail is the most edible portion of the fish and tastes much like lobster.

Angler Fish Facts #6

Despite being ferocious looking the orange angler fish is actually a smaller fish only growing to about 5-10 inches in length and at maximum are known to grow up to about 100 pounds.

An interesting note is that female angler fish are typically much bigger than their male counterparts.

We offer charter fishing trips, whale watching excursion, sport fishing trips, private charters and water activities on the central coast of California. If you’re interested click here to learn more.