The rare anglerfish, also called black seadevil, has been caught on camera in Monterey Bay on November 17th. This is a worldwide premiere as the scary fish lives at incredible depths underwater and it is for the first time that it has been videotaped in its natural habitat.
Bruce Robinson, Senior Scientist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and his team managed to capture the video of the “underworld creature” with the help of a remotely operated robotic vehicle, which they launched from a ship.
They found the fish around 1,900 feet under the sea in Monterey Canyon. Robinson said that his team has been regularly exploring the waters in the Monterey Canyon for the last 25 years and that they have only spotted 3 seadevils.
What makes this black seadevil so special is its peculiar appearance and behavior. Many anglerfish are deep-sea dwellers. They conserve as much energy as possible as they are able to hunt while remaining lethargic. Unlike their frightening appearance, they are quite small, measuring only 9 cm long, but their size doesn’t hinder them from swallowing very large prey as their stomach is extremely flexible.
The name “anglerfish” comes from their characteristic predation mode, in which the illicium ( a flashy growth from the fish’s head) acts as a lure. They also have very sharp teeth, used for trapping their pray. Black seadevil fish are also notable for their sexual dimorphism and sexual parasitism of the males. During the mating process, males receive hormones from the females, which are the only ones that can hunt. If they don’t find a female, they drown as they are not equipped to survived on their own.
Over time, these bizarre creatures have incited the collective curiosity and they served as an inspiration for a monster in the “Finding Nemo” film too, which still haunts our memory.