Monday, September 9, 2013

Angler

Lophius piscatorius
So today's animal goes by many names -- the Angler, the Sea-devil, the Frog-fish. All of these monikers refer to Lophius piscatorius, a deep sea fish native to the north Atlantic and Mediterranean.

The Angler has a very large head, but a flat body that is absent of scales. As with most Anglerfish species, the females are much much larger than the males-- they can grow over 6ft long, while the males will only grow to a few inches.

These fish live on the sea floor, hiding out near the very bottom and attracting smaller fish to them using a lure. When the prey gets close they suck them in whole. Amazingly, the Angler has a very expandable stomach-- they can consume fish that are nearly as large as they are!

Despite their ugly appearance, Anglers are commercially fished. However, they are listed on the Greenpeace Red List. This is because the trawling method used to fish them up is very damaging to the sea floor. Additionally, these fish have very long lives and mature slowly. Taking large numbers of them is detrimental, as it cane take a very long time for the population to naturally rebound.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Atlantic and Mediterranean
Size : Females up to 6.6ft (2m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii  -- Order : Lophiiformes
Family : Lophiidae -- Genus : Lophius -- Species : L. piscatorius
Image : Meocrisis

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