These deep-sea anglerfish might as well be aliens

Deep-sea anglerfish (Ceratiidae) remain one of the most intriguing mysteries of the ocean. Ugly and ghoulish with giant mouths and pointy teeth, only recently has video footage revealed the creature’s unique form of alienesque reproduction.

The 3.5-foot females are most famous for their hunting methods, in which they use a fish rod-like appendage (the esca) on top of their heads. The lure is tipped with a luminescent fin ray to attract prey with their light. They also use the esca to attract mates.

The much smaller one-inch parasitic male latches onto the female, injecting its sperm in exchange for nutrients. Hooked on for life, the two share a single respiratory and digestive system.

The male atrophies, losing its eyes and some organs in the process. The dwarfed male never has to go hunting again, nor does the female have to mate — as they both find solace in the dark.

The deep-sea anglerfish may be the weirdest looking and acting creatures on the planet.


We need your help. Please consider making a small donation to support the blog.

📍 Discover more