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Brace Yourself: Meet The Deep-Sea Anglerfish

In the Monterey Canyon (Also known as the Monterey Submarine Canyon) of California which extends from Monterey Bay out into the Pacific Ocean, lies what many know as the Black Seadevil (Anglerfish) which was seen in Finding Nemo.

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Deep-sea anglerfish. Video credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

In the Finding Nemo scene, Nemo and company are swimming in the dark and spot a beautiful light. They approached it and played with it a little, until they turned around to see a toothy deep-sea anglerfish glaring at them. The glowing light was actually a lure attached to the anglerfish’s head. At the immense depths anglerfish live, it is extremely dark, and the glow of anglerfish will stand out, especially since so few creatures survive down there. If that scene wasn’t scary enough: Real anglerfish (melanocetus) are actually much more aggressive and opportunistic than that. In reality, Nemo would have been snapped up almost immediately.

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As for the light: That is produced by bioluminescent bacteria. If a creature is bioluminescent, that just means that it can glow. Other sea creatures are sometimes attracted to this glowing lure which dangles in front of the anglerfish’s mouth. The victim is then swallowed head first as it approaches the light. If the victim is colossally huge, no problem! It just stretches open its mouth, stomach like a snake and wolfs it down anyway.

Deep-sea anglerfish are perfect for horror stories for many reasons. One of which is that their glow is so beautiful, but their faces are among the most hideous (and scary) to ever exist.

Other creepy characteristics include:

  • The male anglerfish approach the females to mate, they fuse with them for the rest of their lives so that the females have an endless supply of sperm.
  • Just because anglerfish can’t see well in their dark environments, doesn’t mean they can’t spot you. They are capable of feeling other creatures approach using extremely sensitive organs attached to their bodies.

Is it just me, or do creatures get weirder as you descend into the ocean? There really is nothing like deep-sea creatures, with their glowing bodies and incredibly effective sensory organs.

Source: MBARI.

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