A rare female angler, known as the Black Seadevil has been caught on video some 2,000 feet in the Monterey Canyon off California by marine researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
Ugly, fearsome, and menacing with a cavernous mouth full of teeth in an overlarge head, the Black Seadevil is not your usual fish or marine animal. The 3.5 inches long creature lives in the ocean depth that is rarely penetrated by sunlight, with little other creatures of prey dwelling in the nether parts of ocean darkness. And according to Kim Fulton-Benton, a spokesman for the Monterey Canyon, “These kinds of fish, we often see between 500 meters and 1,000 meters in the oxygen-minimum zone; there’s not a lot of other life forms there.”
A very rare marine animal, the Black Seadevil has been sighted on three times within a span of25 years. Its habitat in the pitch darkness of a canyon that is nearly 3 miles or 14,763 feet makes it an uncommon guest to the human eye, and such ocean depths compare with Mount Whitney in the US which has a summit peak of 258 feet.
How the Black Seadevil feeds is also a thing of remarkable interest to researchers. It has a long light pole on the top of its head that beams a luminescent blue-green light which attracts prey which is then eaten by the female angler. According to Bruce Robinson of MBARI, “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.”
The male angler is much smaller in size to the female angler, and they reproduce when the male angler attaches itself to its female mate like some parasite. Researchers say “He attaches himself to the female by biting her, and then digesting part of his face, so he fuses with her flesh. He then atrophies, losing his digestive organs, brain, heart and eyes, and winds up nothing more than a pair of gonads, which release sperm when needed.” Ted Pietsch, a professor at the University of Washington and an expert on the deep-sea anglerfish says”If they don’t find a female, they drown. They’re not even properly equipped to eat.”
In the movie “Finding Nemo”, now made more popular by the capturing of the female angler on video, the Black Seadevil is seen moving up stealthily on fish Dory and Marlin as they go in search for Nemo.