The Anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius) is a bony marine (saltwater) fish. It is commonly known as the Angler in the Lophiidae family of monkfish.
The Anglerfish is mainly all head and hardly any body. It has no scales. Its head is large, broad, and flat. It has a fleshy growth from it head, called the esca or illicium, which acts like a lure. The esca, or illicium, is commonly known as the ‘fishing rod.’ It has a very wide mouth with jaws that have long pointed teeth. Its teeth point inwards. It has long filaments along the middle of its head.
Its pectoral and pelvic fins act like legs, and it can walk along the bottom of the sea. It has fringes on its head and body that look like seaweed, so that it can be camouflaged in its environment.
It measures about 200 centimetres (79 inches) in length.
The Anglerfish is native to the coastal waters of the north-east Atlantic Ocean, around the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It usually hides in the sand or amongst seaweed.
It is carnivorous, eating other fish, especially crustaceans, such as shrimp.
The female Anglerfish lays a thin sheet of transparent eggs which float in the water. Larvae hatch from the eggs. The larvae are free-swimming.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM