Creature Feature – Deep Sea Anglerfish

Continuing with spooky season, in honour of Halloween, this week’s featured creature is the Deep Sea Anglerfish! Anglerfish are bony fish named for their characteristic mode of predation, in which a modified luminescent fin ray acts as a lure for other fish. There are over 200 species of anglerfish found in the deep depths of our oceans. 

Taxonomy

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Clade: Percomorpha

Order: Lophiiformes

Deep Sea Anglerfish Fact File

? Size: Individuals can reach up to 1.2m in length, and weigh up to 50kg

? Distribution: Anglerfish occur worldwide. Some are pelagic (dwelling away from the sea floor), while others are benthic (dwelling close to the sea floor)

? Diet: Their diet is predominantly comprised of small fishes, and crustaceans

? Behaviour: Like other deep sea species, anglerfish have special adaptations, namely to improve their ability to feed, and to mate. They have large mouths and stomachs, and long pointy teeth. Their lure, which is filled with bioluminescent bacteria is used to attract both prey, and mates

? IUCN Status: Most species are classified as Least Concern, or Data Deficient. However, populations are susceptible to overfishing and ocean acidification