Saturday 22 November 2014

Black Sea Devil

Deep sea anglerfish par excellence!

Black Sea Devils are around half a dozen species belonging to Melanocetus, the only genus in the Melanocetidae family. They can be found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide, aside from one species that was once spotted hanging out near Antarctica.

Unfortunately, they're very rarely seen or found by anyone. Let alone whilst minding their own business in their natural habitat. And video of such a thing? If that ever happens, I'll eat my...

Video: MBARI

Breakfast. I was going to say breakfast. Honest.

Here's a Black Sea Devil filmed by the folks at MBARI at a depth of 580 metres (1.900 ft). It's a mere 9 cm (4 in) long, and other species don't get much more than twice that.

Nevertheless, Melanocetus comes from the Greek melanos meaning "black" and cetus meaning "sea monster", which is also where the word Cetacean for all the whales comes from.

The old, Greek ceti were depicted as infuriated, fang-toothed walruses or giant, angry sea-lions. Those guys should have seen one of these! A giant, angry mouth is all you really need.

This is the classic anglerfish. Dark, globose body, massive jaws packed full of teeth and that glowing lure to attract prey. Don't forget that they also have the distensible stomach that will bulge horribly to hold prey about the same size as the entire anglerfish.

That's one thing I really like about these deep sea anglers. You get your massive jaws, that's the important thing, and then the rest of the body can sort of come and go as the need arises. Why weigh yourself down with a huge, empty stomach? Just fold it up neatly and unpack when you actually have something to put in it.

These so-called sea monsters are really quite civilised when you come down to it.


Joseph JG said...

The head so big and ogrish! It's like a decapitated orc!

BK said...

Me again, with another suggestion:
Channabelles Apus. It is a fish that hunts on land.

Joseph JG said...

Nice one, always good to see fish that can get things done on land!