Ferrebeekeeper is doing a poor job highlighting strange and magnificent fish for you (which was our blogging New Year’s resolution for 2015). Fortunately I was forcibly reminded to do so this week by marine scientists who discovered a brand new species of anglerfish in the midnight depths of the Gulf of Mexico. This new fish is a ceratioid anglerfish, which are notable for their fishing rod appendages and for their sexual parasitism. The male is much smaller than the female and, when the fish mate, the male attache himself permanently to the female’s body. His nervous system melts away into hers and he becomes a sort of gamete-producing lump. Particularly successful (or promiscuous?) female anglerfish have multiple males attached to them.
The photo of the new anglerfish makes it seem huge and disturbing, but the creatures are only about 10 centimeters (four inches) long—and that’s the large females: the males are much tinier. The tiny size of these intense predators is a disturbing reminder of what freakish giants humans really are (seriously…like 99.999 percent of animals are smaller than us). Additionally the romantic lives of these ceratioid fish serve as a reminder that relations between the sexes can be conducted much much differently than we do it!