Monday, September 8, 2014

Anglerfish and Luminescent Bacteria

Deep Sea Anglerfish are described to be one of the most grotesque looking things that live on this Earth. With its sharp, see-through teeth and the illuminating point on the end of its dorsal spine the Deep Sea Anglerfish appears to be something seen in a movie about atrocious aliens. 
This species’ appearance gives the impression it grows to a size, bigger than one’s head. However, not at all where most female Deep Sea Anglerfish only grow to be less than a foot long, the biggest to be ten inches. Species of male anglerfish are a lot smaller than females’ where males can grow to be five inches. Females arrange in colors of brown to dark grey whereas males are black. Deep Sea Anglerfish, much like the rest of the variation of their species, has a dorsal spine that stretches out to in front of their faces, ironically seeming like a fishing pole.

Photo 1

The appearance of the Deep Sea Anglerfish does not sound appealing, and may deter one to swim in ocean waters. The Deep Sea Anglerfish resides a mile below the surface of the ocean and lives in different parts of the sea, but is primarily known to call Atlantic and Arctic seas home.
If the appearance of the Deep Sea Anglerfish did not sound odd enough the way the Deep Sea Anglerfish mates may make you have a further appreciation to the way humans mate. The Deep Sea Anglerfish does mate for life, however at one time the female Deep Sea Anglerfish will have up to six mates at once. When a male Deep Sea Angler Fish ages, its digestive system worsens and in order to survive the male needs to find a female. Once the male does, the latches onto the female by biting the female, and merges with her skin. Over time, the male’s bloodstream as well connects with the females along with the female’s digestive system. The male will end up losing its internal organs and its eyes and all that is left is the male’s testes. When the female is ready to produce, this ensures reproduction.
Photo 2

The Deep Sea Anglerfish does not sound like it has an easygoing life. Its appearance is horrid, and its sex life sounds painful so is there anything that goes well for this ugly fish? In the end, the Deep Sea Anglerfish does a friend. Like most Anglerfish the Deep Sea Anglerfish is known for the bright bulb at the end of its “fishing pole.” It may be the only thing that appears alluring and pretty to this species. What makes the bulb at the end of its dorsal spine shine is due to a symbiotic relationship between bioluminescent bacteria.
This symbiotic relationship is mutualism because both species benefit from one another. Bioluminescence is the chemical process the bacteria go through to illuminate the photophore, the organ at the tip of the Deep Sea Anglerfish’s “fishing pole,” in a variation of blue to green color. This helps the carnivorous Deep Sea Anglerfish catch its prey in the dark depths of the ocean.  The Deep Sea Anglerfish uses its photophore to lure in its prey, ironically like an actual fishing pole. The Deep Sea Anglerfish is abled to expand its body and with that, is able to eat prey twice its own size. The bioluminescent bacteria benefits from the Deep Sea Anglerfish as well. In the photophore, the environment is enriched with nutrients that allow the bacteria to cultivate well.

With the symbiotic mutualistic relationship between the luminescent bacteria and the Deep Sea Anglerfish, even the most ugly of species have aid to their survival.  

"Anglerfish, Anglerfish Pictures, Anglerfish Facts - National Geographic."Anglerfish. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.

Chen, Ed. "Anglerfish." Ed Chen Blog. N.p., 06 Nov. 2013. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.

"Deep Sea Anglerfish." Deep Sea Anglerfish. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.

"Deep Sea Anglerfish." - Deep Sea Creatures on Sea and Sky. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.

"Photophore." Photophore. Farlex, n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.

"Themes of Parasitology." The Anglerfish and Her Pyrotechnic Display:. BlogSpot, 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.

Photo 1:

Robison/Corbis, Bruce. Anglerfish. Digital image. National Geographic. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014. <>.
Photo 2:

Jolles, Jolle. Male Anglerfish. Digital image. Mud Footed. MudFooted, 29 Mar. 2010. Web. 08 Sept. 2014. <>.

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