|Anglerfish are not typically known for their beauty and charm. Rather, they are best known for their large, gaping toothed jaws, and horrific angler-like protrusions, which they use to lure and snatch unsuspecting prey. The scientific name of this bizarre fish is Lophius piscatorius, and it also commonly known as the fishing-frog, frog-fish, goosefish, sea-devil or monkfish.|
Why the day sleeper?
According to the Greek poet Oppian, a 2nd-century Greco-Roman poet, the Anglerfish was known back then as ‘day sleeper’. In fact, during the day, it generally hides itself in the sand or amongst seaweed. The pectoral and pelvic fins are so articulated as to perform the functions of feet, so that the fish can ‘walk’ along the bottom of the sea. Around the Anglerfish’s head, and along the body, the skin bears fringed appendages resembling short fronds of seaweed.
|This structure, combined with the extraordinary faculty of assimilating the colour of the body to its surroundings, assists this fish greatly in camouflaging itself in the places which it selects on account of the abundance of prey. It has no scales and can grow to a length of more than two metres.|
Is an Anglerfish dangerous?
It might look scary, but it is beautiful. The Anglerfish has a very large head which is broad, flat, and depressed; the rest of the body appears to be a mere appendage. The wide mouth extends all the way around the anterior circumference of the head, and both jaws are armed with bands of long, pointed teeth. These are inclined inwards and can be closed to offer no impediment to an object gliding towards the stomach, but to prevent its escape from the mouth. Always respect marine life, observe passively, and shoot only photos!
Why is it called anglerfish?
It is believed to attract other fish by means of its lure, looking like a kind of a fishing rod; hence its common and scientific names. This sort of fishing rod, which is in fact an adaptation of the primary dorsal ray, terminates in a lappet and is movable in every direction. After the Anglerfish lures it prey, it seizes them in the blink of an eye with its enormous jaws. It has a retractable jaw and no ribs, thus making its stomach expandable, allowing it to potentially swallow prey larger than its own size.
Can it be that female Anglerfish are larger than males?
Scientists wondered why they could not find any male anglers until they discovered them as parasites attached to the females!
Where can I find an Anglerfish?
It is found in the coastal waters of the northeast Atlantic Ocean, from the Barents Sea to the Strait of Gibraltar, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. All the Anglerfish in these photos were seen around Gozo, precisely at Double Arch Reef, at Il-Kantra and at Mġarr ix-Xini.
Did you know?
The Anglerfish has a great, though hardly known, claim to fame. As a matter of fact, the first insulin was derived from the pancreas of this fish. It was used to treat diabetes – today insulin is produced artificially.
|Is it true that the Greek poet Oppian lived in Malta?
Oppian’s father was banished to Malta, having incurred the displeasure of Lucius Verus, a colleague of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Oppian had accompanied his father into exile in Malta.
After the death of Verus (AD 169), Oppian presented his poems to Marcus Aurelius. The emperor was so pleased with them, that he gave the author a piece of gold for each line, took him into favour, and pardoned his father. Oppian subsequently returned to his native country but died of the plague shortly afterwards at the early age of thirty.