Scientists Finally Recorded Terrifying Anglerfish Sex on Video for the First Time Ever—And It's Even Weirder Than You Think

Friday, 23 March 2018 - 10:35AM
Earth
Friday, 23 March 2018 - 10:35AM
Scientists Finally Recorded Terrifying Anglerfish Sex on Video for the First Time Ever—And It's Even Weirder Than You Think
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Image credit: YouTube

Some mysteries are probably better off left unsolved.

 

Case in point: The secrets of deep-sea anglerfish have intrigued scientists for quite some by because of the lack of access to live specimens—they tend to die pretty quickly when brought to the surface for observation.

 

Using a specially designed submersible to dive 800 meters in the waters around Portugal's Azores islands, deep-sea explorers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen have managed to capture footage of a mating pair of anglers for the first time ever, and it is something you can't un-see.



The female angler is significantly larger than the male, so the vision of mating that you have in your mind would not work. Instead, the tiny male attaches himself to the underside of the female like a barnacle and goes along for the ride, supplying sperm as she slowly drifts through the black depths. The male bites the female and fuses with her bloodstream, forming a mostly parasitic but kind of mutualistic relationship. (Modern love, am I right?)

 

"I've been studying these [animals] for most of my life and I've never seen anything like it," said University of Washington in Seattle fish researcher Ted Pietsch.

 

When the explorers sent him the video, Pietsch was able to identify the species as Caulophryne jordani, which is also known as the fanfin angler.

 





According to Science Mag, the way the fish mate is not a new discovery because dead pairs have been found before still fused together, but seeing the act on camera is a different story.

 

"There's no way I would have ever guessed that from a [museum] specimen," said Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute deep-sea ecologist Bruce Robison about the male's "flexibility" during the love ride.



In addition to witnessing the bizarre way that the fish mate, the Jakobsens were taken by the female's long fin rays.

 

The bioluminescent lure that dangles in front of her mouth to attract prey is nothing new, but the way the light extended through the tips of the filaments has also never been seen before.

 

There is a lot we still don't know about the many species of anglerfish, but if it takes more videos of ugly fish sex to learn those secrets, I for one am happy to stay ignorant.

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