Deep-sea anglerfish with parasitic mate caught on video for first time

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March 23, 2018 11:20 pm Published by

For the first time ever, someone has captured anglerfish mating on video. This isn’t a cloudy, blurry, underwater video that’s hard to discern, fortunately. In it, we see the female anglerfish in all her terrifying glory, glowing “whiskers” floating lazily in the water, a tiny male fish hitching a ride while literally fused with her body.

READ: Rare anglerfish caught on tape

The video was captured by Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen via a submersible at a depth of about 2,624ft. The dive had lasted five hours when the pair spotted the fish, according to Science Mag, which was given exclusive access to the video and details. The duo had originally planned to surface, but instead tracked the anglerfish for approximately 25 minutes while recording it.

That video was taken in August 2016 and later sent to University of Washington in Seattle researcher Ted Pietsch, who ID’d the creature. Visible on the female’s body is a dwarf male anglerfish that is permanently fused to her. This is normal for the angler’s mating process: the male bites her, slowly fusing into her body while being sustained by her blood.

That mating process was already known, but knowledge about it came from specimens recovered over the years, not from actual observation of the practice. The video helped shed light on how it actually goes down, revealing that despite being fused, the male fish is able to move around considerably in the water.

In addition, the video shows the female anglerfish’s filaments (“whiskers”) seemingly glowing on the ends. That is at odds with what is known about the fish, which does have a glowing lure-like appendage that dangles in front of its face. It’s not clear whether the whiskers are actually glowing or simply reflecting light from the submersible vehicle.

SOURCE: Science Mag

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