The anglerfish is a fish of the teleost order Lophiiformes. They are bony fish named for their characteristic mode of predation, in which a modified luminescent fin ray acts as a lure for other fish. The luminescence comes from symbiotic bacteria, which are thought to be acquired from seawater, that dwell in and around the esca.

Some anglerfish are notable for extreme sexual dimorphism and sexual symbiosis of the small male with the much larger female, seen in the suborder Ceratiidae, the deep-sea anglerfish. In these species, males may be several orders of magnitude smaller than females.

Scientific Information of Anglerfish

  • Common Name: Anglerfish.
  • Scientific Name: Lophiiformes.
  • Type: Fish.
  • Diet: Carnivore.
  • Group Name: School.
  • Size: 8 to 40 inches.
  • Weight: Up to 110 pounds.
  • Lifespan: 30 years approximately.

They live in the deep sea such as the Ceratiidae, while others on the continental shelf, such as the frogfishes and the Lophiidae. Pelagic forms are most often laterally compressed, whereas the benthic forms are often extremely dorsoventrally compressed, often with large upward-pointing mouths.

There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, most of which live in the murky depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, up to a mile below the surface, although some live in shallow, tropical environments. Generally dark gray to dark brown in color, they have huge heads and enormous crescent-shaped mouths filled with sharp, translucent teeth. Some angler fish can be quite large, reaching 3.3 feet in length.

The male is smaller than the female, does not need such an adaptation. In place of continually seeking the vast abyss for a female, it has evolved into a permanent parasitic mate. When a young, free-swimming male angler encounters a female, he latches onto her with his sharp teeth. Over time, the male physically fuses with the female, connecting to her skin and bloodstream and losing his eyes and all his internal organs except the testes. A female will carry six or more males on her body.

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