Although a recently uploaded video of a Black Seadevil might be terrifying to some, scientists say the footage of the anglerfish is a dream come true.
The clip from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is believed to be the first to capture the fish alive and at depth. It was filmed in Monterey Bay at a depth of 1,600 feet by a remotely operated submersible vehicle known as Doc Ricketts. The fish itself was a female angler with a broken tooth.
“We’ve been diving out here in the Monterey Canyon regularly for 25 years, and we’ve seen three,” MBARI Senior Scientist Bruce Robinson said.
Robinson, who also narrated the video, described the female fish’s unique “fishing pole” attachment that’s used to lure prey in the darkness of deep water. The fish flash’s the light to attract food, then leads the prey toward its mouth. The angler quickly inhales its prey and traps it in its long, sharp teeth.
“Males are ill-equipped for feeding,” Robinson explained, “and their sole responsibility appears to be to find a female and mate with her as soon as possible.”
Robinson added that a male will bite into the body of a female, then degenerate until it’s a lump of tissue surrounding testicles. He noted that he’s seen 11 males attached to a single female in the past.
Robinson and his team were researching the impacts of a slight change in water temperature and its effects on deep sea animals when the angler was discovered. In the past three decades, the bay water has warmed a tenth or two tenths of a degree. Robinson reported that marine life in shallow waters has already begun to change since the amount of carbon dioxide has increased alongside warming temperatures.