Researchers from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida worked in collaboration with researchers from University of Washington to discover a new species of anglerfish called Lasiognathus Regan. So far researchers have found three examples of this fish. More details about the discovery were published in the journal Copeia.
The newly-discovered species was found in the deepest ocean waters where there is never sunlight. Such areas are home for the strangest creatures in the world so there’s no surprise that the new species of anglerfish is so bizarre resembling a mutant alien from a Science Fiction movie.
The ceratioid anglerfish was discovered in the northern Gulf of Mexico in waters where the pressure reaches 2.200 pounds per square inch. The fish has an appendage like a pole growing from the top of its head, has spikes and is provided with sharp teeth. Unlike the already known species of anglerfish that are stout and round Lasiognathus Regan is thin and gaunt.
Just like other similar species of anglerfish this fish uses its glow-in-the-dark capabilities to lure its prey as well. According to the research team the fish dangles the appendage to attract unsuspecting fish that believe that they have found food, but they will soon discover that they are the food instead. This fish act like its human counterpart.
The appendage which is like a natural fishing rod can also be observed in the case of other ceratioid anglerfish. Scientists speculate that this feature evolved from a dorsal fin. This is an example of evolutionary strategies which anglerfish have adopted due to the fact that in such deep water no marine plants can be found and as a consequence the competition for alternative sources of food is very big.
Dr. Tracey Sutton who works as an oceanographer at Nova Southeastern University said:
As a researcher, the one thing I know is that there’s so much more we can learn about our oceans. Finding this new species reinforces the notion that our inventory of life in the vast ocean interior is far from complete.”
The three specimens will be kept at the University of Washington, the Ichthyology Collection, which is the largest collection of deep-sea anglerfish in the world.
Image Source: mek.oszk.hu