MBARI captured extinct black sea devil anglerfish on video (+video)

The first images and subsequent video of a female anglerfish, otherwise known as a Black Seadevil. The fish previously has been featured in movies, like “Finding Nemo,” but no film, even the most-graphic sci-fi settings, has created an image as frightening as the real thing. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is the entity that managed to catch the illusive creature on film, and what they saw on that image was nothing short of unnerving.

The jaw is gaping open, and it exposes teeth, or what look like curved fangs. The team was conducting a “midwater transect,” which according to the team means they “’fly’ the robot through the water at a series of different depths, and count all the different types of animals we see.” They went on to note that these dives have been taking place for 20 years and the fact that the Seadevil had eluded researchers and divers alike to this extent is something of an anomaly.

The team was able to capture the fish to be studied, and even were able to keep it living, which is a major step for the researchers – since the only fish of its kind that have been studied in the past have been dead. Now, scientists will have a real chance to fully-understand and really dive into the details of the creature and how it lives.

The anglerfish is a very unique creature though, as the details of the fish suggest. The creature does have eyes, but due to the darkness of the environment that they are present in, ultimately they use them very little. The organs around the front of the creature are very sensitive to movement, and that’s ultimately what ensures the anglerfish is such a good hunter. However, not all anglerfish are created equal. In fact, female anglerfish, or Black Seadevil’s are the only ones that have the apparatus protruding from the top of their head.

It’s been studied that the only purpose of male anglerfish is to reproduce with the female anglerfish, as soon as possible. Really, the males are not even equipped well-enough to hunt sufficiently, so their lifespan is significantly shorter.

The females though do hunt very well. They are not a quick fish, or a stalking predator, but rather an ambush predator. The light draws their prey in and acts as a fishing pole, guiding the other fish close enough to strike and eat. Once they’re consumed, they’re trapped by the fangs, or teeth that you see on the front of the creature.