True Facts and a Haiku About the Angler Fish

Love this video about angler fish.  Just the right amount of laughter and science this new ear needs!

Of course our favorite at DSN is the Black Devil or Humpback Anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii, Class Actinopterygii, Order Lophiiformes, Family Melanocetidae) the vertebrate poster child for deep-sea science. And what’s not to love? The size of a tennis ball, the females can swallow prey four times their size because of a flabby stomach. Thanks to tiny fins and a virtually absent tail these fleshy footballs are not going anywhere fast.

The prominent lure is not just a lighted organ to attract prey but a beacon of sexual energy attracting potential mates. And those tiny males, barely ten percent of the female’s length, are little more than swimming sperm sacks. When the males find a female, they attach, living the rest of their life a parasite. Those females are very lucky indeed.

Now for anglerfish haiku. Feel free to include yours below in the comments.

The twilight zone –
two angler fish begin the cycle:
always as one.

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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3 comments on “True Facts and a Haiku About the Angler Fish
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