Deep-sea anglerfish mating ritual caught on video for the first time

Time to read
1 minute
Read so far

Deep-sea anglerfish mating ritual caught on video for the first time

March 23, 2018 - 20:30
Posted in section:

The male of the species had never been observed before. Now one is appearing in the film below. The footage shows a female anglerfish the size of a fist mating with a tiny male. The male has bitten the body of the female, and their circulatory systems and tissues have fused.

Caulophryne jordani, commonly known as the fanfin angler, is a species of fanfin, a type of anglerfish.

A new video, captured in the waters around Portugal’s Azores islands, has stunned deep-sea biologists. It shows a fist-size female anglerfish, resplendent with bioluminescent lights and elongated whiskerlike structures projecting outward from her body. And if you look closely, she’s got a mate: A dwarf male is fused to her underside, essentially acting as a permanent sperm provider.

Deep-sea anglerfishes, including the Fanfin Seadevil, (Caulophryne jordani ), are found in all oceans around the world, yet the roughly 160 known species are extremely rare. Males of the same species have never before been observed.

Deep-sea anglerfish males are a fraction of the size of the females—in the most extreme cases, females may be more than 60 times the length and about a half-a-million times as heavy as the males.

Once a male finds a female, a seemingly impossible task in the vast open space of the deep sea, he bites onto her body, the tissues and circulatory systems of the two fuse, and he is fed by nutrients received through her blood. The male becomes a “sexual parasite,” hanging on for the rest of his life and unable to free himself, fertilizing the eggs produced by the female. The male completely loses his individuality and the couple becomes a single functioning organism.

Sources and references