ADAPTATIONS OF THE ANGLER FISH
By Collins Ngigi
Angler fish (Lophius piscatorius) are a bony fish that live about 150 feet (45 meters) into the sea. * The angler fish is on average not very active so they don’t use a lot of oxygen. * They have an oxyandelor which is a special organ located under the gills which allows them to “recycle” oxygen; it pumps carbon dioxide through the oxyandelor to produce oxygen. * Angler fish have a bioluminescent growth above their mouths which acts as a lure to attract prey such as deep-sea shrimp and nektons. * The teeth of the angler fish are backward pointing so that the prey can’t escape. * The angler fish is able to distend both its jaw and its stomach (its bones are thin and flexible) to enormous size, allowing it to swallow prey up to twice as large as its entire body. * The fish is inky blue or grey or brown in colour making it impossible to see in the dark deep sea. * Male angler fish hatch with ready developed sexual and olfactory organs but a stunted alimentary canal; their sole purpose is to mate. * The male angler fish is small and weak and are incapable of catching its own prey; however it does have a very strong sense of smell which is used to find female angler fish. * Angler fish reproduce by male angler fish biting the skin of the female angler fish; it then secretes an enzyme that digests the skin around its mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. The male then slowly atrophies, first losing his digestive organs, then his brain, heart, and eyes, and ends as nothing more than a pair of gonads, which release sperm in accordance to hormones in the female’s blood. This means that when an angler fish is ready to spawn there is a mate(s) immediately available. Multiple males can be incorporated into a single individual female.
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