An extremely rare type of anglerfish, the Black Seadevil, has been captured on video for what is believed to be the first time. The clip, released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, clearly shows one of the ugliest and meanest-looking fish at a depth of about 600 metres.According to MBARI Senior Scientist Bruce Robinson, this type of fish is so rare that he's only seen three of them despite diving in the Monterey Canyon for 25 years.
In the video, Robinson describes the unique appearance of the fish:
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.Robinson says this Seadevil has a broken tooth. And despite it's horrific appearance, it is only about 3.5 inches in length.
According to the video, this Seadevil is a female of the species – males are described as smaller, without the signature "fishing pole" attachement that females use to lure prey into their gaping maws.
"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," Robison narrates in the video. Robinson said males essentially die while mating with a female Seadevil.
"The male bites into the body of the female, their tissues fuse," he said. "The male's body degenerates until it's a lump of tissue surrounding testicles." The female will then carry the male's remaining corpse with her for the rest of her life. Robinson said he has seen female Devilfish with as many as 11 males attached to a single female.
Robinson is researching the impacts of climate change in the deep sea, where the pace of life is slower due to less oxygen in the Monterey Bay.
Indeed, the oceans are filled with many rare and unusual creatures. And ugly.