Science & Technology

Cool Creatures: Episode 3 - The Anglerfish

By Matteo Somma

Volume 2 Issue 3

January 14, 2022

Cool Creatures: Episode 3 - The Anglerfish

Original artwork by Kimberly Shrestha

Down in the deepest depths of the ocean lies a creature out of a storybook called an Anglerfish. These creatures live 2,000 meters below the surface of the ocean in complete darkness and rely solely on adaptations to survive. A few cool adaptations are the Anglerfish's ability to lure in other fish and its tooth position, both of which help it survive in some of the harshest climates on Earth.


The Anglerfish's teeth help it survive and stay fed. They are large, razor-sharp structures that help them snag their prey, and they are pointed inward to make sure prey does not escape. Both adaptations help it to stay fed after it catches its food. The second (and coolest) anglerfish adaptation is its large glowing orb above its head. This bioluminescent orb attracts all types of prey such as small fish, snails, and crustaceans. Think about it as a bait on a hook: the orb acts as the bait, and when animals come close enough, the anglerfish strikes to kill and devour its prey. Then, its teeth come into play and snag the fish before it can escape the anglerfish. This is a keen example of “survival of the fittest,” or Darwinian theory. Anglerfish must be both physically tough and mentally strong to catch their next meal and survive.


A FEW FUN FACTS:


- Anglerfish are endangered and even recognized and protected by Greenpeace, a worldwide organization that protects endangered species. Due to the recent mass consumption of these vitamin-rich fish coupled with ocean pollution, their population is decreasing rapidly.

- Though Anglerfish often drift in the currents of the deep ocean, they can swim extremely fast if in danger. If they do decide to swim, they can reach speeds of .24 body lengths per second.

- Male Anglerfish are smaller than females and do not have a glowing orb. Rather, they fuse with females losing their organs as a way of reproduction.


Thanks for tuning in to Cool Creatures: Episode 3. I hope you find the mysterious Anglerfish just as cool and crazy as I do. Hopefully, you learned something new, and next time you go swimming in the ocean, take a second and remind yourself about what is deep, deep down, lurking in the waters below...