25 Interesting Anglerfish Facts

Anglerfish live in the deepest parts of the world oceans, where the water is cold, the pressure reaches colossal values, and the amount of food is minimal. Anglerfish is one of the interesting inhabitants of the sea depths. Their appalling appearance, unusual way of hunting, and relationship with the opposite gender distinguish them from other sea creatures. 

1. Let’s start with the fact that anglerfish spend their entire “conscious” life at a depth of the oceans.

The fish adapted to live at a depth of up to 1.86 miles (3 kilometers). 

2. They are truly amazing, both in appearance and lifestyle.

Their color is black or dark brown, because of this, it is difficult to see them at the depth of the sea, where is invisibly dark.

3. Their appearance can scare any impressionable person.

The spherical shape of the body is characteristic of such deep-sea fishes. Its head occupies most of its body. Also, they have a huge mouth with frighteningly sharp teeth. 

4. Anglerfish was first found on the shores of Greenland. 

In 1833, when the female anglerfish was found, it instantly caught the attention of the scientific world.

5. Anglerfishes commonly found in the Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans.

They can be found areas starting from the shores of Iceland to the Guinea Sea. They prefer cooler waters. 

6. Anglerfishes are divided into almost 200 species.

Among which, there are those that grow up to 6.56 ft. (2 meters) in length and weigh almost 28 kg. On average, the length of the anglerfish is about 23.6 inches (60 cm).

7. This fish earned the nickname «angler» for the remarkable growth that can be found on the head of females. 

That growth is usually called ‘fishing rod’. In some species of anglerfish, the ‘fishing rod’, or, as it is called, the Illicium, is long and thin. In others, it is short and thick.

8. Anglerfish do not have scales.

Nevertheless, the skin of some species is covered with scales that transformed into spines.

9. Anglerfishes comprise 11 families of the superfamily Ceratioidea.

Ceratioidea suborder of deep-sea fish from the order anglerfish (Lophiiformes), whose representatives live in the water column at great depths of the oceans.

10. Female anglerfishes are much larger than males.

The length of an adult female can reach 3.3 ft. (1 meter), while males rarely grow more than 1.97 inches (5 cm).

11. The “fishing rod” is present only in females.

They truly predatory fishes and “rod” is necessary for them to hunt.

12. In most species, the rod is pointed forward and hangs directly to the mouth luring prey.

At the end of the illicium, there is an esca or bait. It is filled with mucus with bioluminescent bacteria, due to which the bait glows.

Anglerfish facts
Types of Anglerfish/ Credit: Wikimedia

13. A truly unique thing about some species of anglerfishes…

Is, that small male anglerfishes parasitize on the females.

14. It happens in this way…

Before puberty, males have exceptional olfactory senses, which allows them to find females in darkness. Finding a female, the male attaches its teeth to the body of the female. Gradually over time, males completely lose their independence.

15. After parasitism, the only organ that continues to work in males is the genital organ.

Which is necessary for the females for breeding.

16. The way they breed.

Like most species, the anglerfish breeds in spring and summer. 

17. Male anglerfish becomes an appendage or a kind of process on the body of a large female.

There can be three of such parasitic males on one female anglerfish. All of them feed at the expense of the female, fusing with her circulatory systems.

18. The female anglerfish is an extremely gluttony fish.

It can attack prey three times bigger of its size. Although the stomach of the fish stretches to an impressive size, a meal that large can kill the fish. Because their teeth are bent inward so they cannot spit out the prey and chokes as a result. 

19. Males have a modest diet. 

They feed with small organisms. Their food consists of oar-footed crustaceans and bristle-jaws.

20. It belongs to commercial fish species and considered a delicacy.

Despite the unpleasant appearance of anglerfish, the fish tastes quite good.

21. Everyone knows the cartoon «Finding Nemo”.

Anglerfish is one of the minor antagonists in Finding Nemo.

22. The inhabitants of the tropics tell many legends about the terrible appearance of anglerfishes and how they attack swimmers.

However, if to compare the number of people affected by sharks, octopuses or barracudas, the number of victims of the anglerfish is quite small.

23. Anglerfish are not that dangerous for humans

The reason is that people usually do not dive to depths of 275 ft. (700 m) or more.

24. Fish can harm scuba divers.

After spawning, they may come to coastal waters only if they feel severely hungry. However, they may bite you only if you will touch or come close to them.

25. There was a threat of extinction of the genus due to the aggressive fishing activities.

The meat and liver of anglerfish are considered a delicacy.

The entire existence of the anglerfishes is a vivid example of how living organisms can adapt to even the harshest and most adverse conditions of life.

Sources: Britannica; National Geographic; NewYork Times; Mentalfloss

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
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2 replies on “25 Interesting Anglerfish Facts”

Thank you so much! I’m doing a paper about really weird animals and I definitely needed to add Anglerfish, this was extremely helpful <3

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