Anglerfish are one of the most famous deep sea fish, well known for their rod and lure method of attracting prey.
The rod and lure (called the illicium and esca, respectively) of the anglerfishes are used to attract prey. The esca of the female of deep- sea anglerfishes glows in the dark. Anything of appropriate size that comes too close to investigate the glowing lure is quickly eaten. The bioluminescence comes from bioluminescent bacteria that live inside the esca. Just when or how the female anglerfishes get their bacterial symbionts is not yet known. One hypothesis suggests that the bacteria are present in sea water and colonize each female fish. All anglerfishes of the family Melanocetidae are referred to as Black Seadevils. Murray’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus murrayi (bottom), uses its massive teeth to impale and hold prey items that investigate its glowing lure. Anglerfishes can eat fishes nearly their own size and have an expandable stomach to make room for larger prey.
Credit: Danté Fenolio. This image is taken from his book Life in the Dark, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.