NewsRare deep-sea anglerfish discovered on Oregon beach

Rare deep-sea anglerfish discovered on Oregon beach

Monkfish found in Oregon (USA)
Monkfish found in Oregon (USA)
Images source: © Facebook | SeasideAquarium

8:46 AM EDT, May 23, 2024

Water covers over 70 percent of the Earth's surface, with many areas still unexplored. No wonder truly terrifying creatures often lurk in the depths of seas and oceans. One of these was recently washed ashore by the Pacific Ocean on Cannon Beach in the state of Oregon, USA. It is an exceptionally rare specimen that lives at great depths.

Not long ago, the sea washed up the so-called doomsday fish on a beach in the Philippines, which some believed heralded an approaching catastrophe for the residents. The Seaside Aquarium's Facebook profile now reports a find from the other side of the world. A fish has appeared on Cannon Beach that has only been collected 31 times worldwide.

Extraordinary fish washed ashore in the USA

It looks terrifying, is almost entirely black, has a large mouth with numerous teeth as sharp as needles, and features a distinctive long element protruding from its body. This is Himantolophus sagamius, one of over 300 known species of anglerfish that inhabit the ocean depths.

Due to the depth at which anglerfish live, Himantolophus sagamius remains a creature about which little is known. Most commonly found in the Pacific Ocean at depths ranging from 2,000 to 3,300 feet, where sunlight does not reach. H. sagamius does not approach the water's surface, so observing without diving deep underwater is virtually impossible.

A similar case, where the ocean washed an anglerfish of this species ashore last year, was described by scientists as an extraordinary rarity—especially considering the nearly intact condition in which the fish was found. Photos suggest that the specimen from Oregon was also not significantly damaged. However, how exactly H. sagamius ended up in this location is unclear.

What specifically is known today about this deep-sea anglerfish? The length of H. sagamius usually ranges from 12 to 16 inches and varies by gender, with males being several times smaller than females. Scientists have also determined that the characteristic "rod" protruding from the front of the fish is formed from flexible structures of the first dorsal fin ray. This element, called the illicium, ends with a lure (esca) of irregular shape.

The illicium, ending in a lure, usually has bioluminescent functions and serves H. sagamius as bait. Anglerfish have evolved so that they can feed on virtually anything they encounter. Due to the great depth of their habitat, their "menu" is usually not extensive and is often limited to smaller fish or crustaceans.

The prey lured by the anglerfish's natural bait is immediately sucked in. As soon as an unsuspecting fish approaches H. sagamius, it attacks instantaneously. Sharp and inward-facing teeth ensure that the prey does not escape the deadly grip of the anglerfish.

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