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  • Deep-sea anglerfish are strange and elusive creatures that are very rarely observed in

  • their natural habitat. Fewer than half a dozen have ever been captured on film or video by

  • deep-diving research vehicles. This little angler, about 9 cm long, is named Melanocetus.

  • It is also known as the Black Seadevil and it lives in the deep dark waters of the Monterey

  • Canyon. We believe that this is the first video footage ever made of this species alive

  • and at depth.

  • Anglers have a remarkable apparatus on their heads -- a fishing pole with a luminous lure

  • at the tip -- which they use to attract their prey. In the darkness of deep water they flash

  • the light to attract prey and draw them near the angler's mouth. When a fish or a squid swims

  • up, it is quickly inhaled by the angler's huge mouth and trapped by its long, sharp

  • teeth. Given the shape of this angler's body, it is pretty clearly not designed for speed.

  • Instead, these are ambush predators, lurking in the darkness to grab an unwary meal.

  • Another thing we can tell from the shape of the body is that this is a female. In this

  • species the males are much smaller and they lack the fishing pole and lure. Males are

  • ill-equipped for feeding and their sole responsibility appears to be to find a female and mate with

  • her as soon as possible.

  • When we came upon this specimen, at a depth of about 600 m, we noted that she has a broken

  • tooth, you can see it on the left side of her lower jaw. We have no idea whether it

  • will be replaced by another after it falls off. So far as we know, there is no tooth

  • fairy in the deep ocean. You can see that the eyes of this angler are quite small. In

  • their dark habitat anglerfish rely more on feeling the movements of other animals in

  • the water around them than on vision. The tiny pale dots you see along the sides of

  • the fish and on its head are organs very sensitive to the slightest movements and they function

  • very effectively in the dark.

  • The deep-sea is filled with surprises and wonderful creatures. Humans have only just

  • begun to explore this vast realm and we can only imagine what discoveries are yet to be

  • made.

Deep-sea anglerfish are strange and elusive creatures that are very rarely observed in

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