We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Anglerfish?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An anglerfish is a fish in the order Lophiiformes. This order encompasses a wide range of fish in an assortment of families, but all of them share some very distinctive traits which have made them quite famous. Unfortunately for the anglerfish, one of these traits is extreme ugliness; anglerfish are among the most bizarre looking organisms in the sea which can be seen by the naked eye, and an encounter with one is not easily forgotten.

The common name “anglerfish” comes from a unique biological adaptation exhibited by members of this order. Anglerfish have developed extremely long dorsal fins, with the part of the fin near the head being entirely separated. The section of the fin dangles in front of the face of the anglerfish, sort of like a long fishing rod. To complete the image, the fin terminates in a fleshy bulb of “bait” which is meant to intrigue other fish. In deep sea dwelling anglerfish, the bait exhibits bioluminescence, essentially creating a neon sign to attract prey.

Anglerfish are also distinguished by their extremely large mouths, which have teeth angled inwards. The angled teeth allow prey fish to swim inside, but not to escape, acting as a trap. To feed themselves, anglerfish simply cruise around the ocean, waiting for prey to swim right into their mouths.

Most anglerfish are benthic, which means they are adapted to dwell on the bottom of the ocean floor. Many are also designed to live in extremely deep water, and they have a few unique biological features to facilitate this. These fish must be able to survive in very high pressure, and they must also be adapted to handle extreme cold. As a result, many of them develop strangely compressed bodies, with organs and bones arranged in such a way that the high pressure of the ocean floor cannot hurt the fish.

Some species of anglerfish have even developed pectoral fins which act like legs, allowing them to walk along the ocean floor. Given the deep waters in which they live and their relative rarity, this particular adaptation is rarely seen in action, but it is quite remarkable when caught by scientists in submersible vehicles used for the study of the deep sea environment.

The anglerfish has one more interesting trait up its sleeve. Some species have developed a very unique form of sexual dimorphism which is designed to ensure the survival of this incredibly strange order of fishes. In these species, the male anglerfish is not designed to be self supporting, forcing him to seek out a female if he wishes to survive. The males actually latch onto the females, sharing blood supplies in a parasitic state, and over time the male atrophies away, turning into little more than a set of gonads. When the female anglerfish wishes to mate, she can trigger a hormonal state which forces the gonads to release sperm for fertilization. Some females even have multiple males to choose from!

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By GrumpyGuppy — On Jan 09, 2011

@alex94: I have heard of a Humpback Anglerfish but I'm not sure what the difference is between the two. I think it has something to do with the spiny rod that comes out of their head.

By alex94 — On Jan 07, 2011

Has anyone ever heard of a Humpback Anglerfish?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.