Angler fish

Photograph of newborn angler fish by Cheryl Clarke-Hopcroft/UAF/CMarz

I am introduced to the Angler fish by environmental scientist Professor William Gladstone, who reads me a 1938 text by an earlier scientist William Beebe:

To be driven by impelling odour headlong upon a mate so gigantic, in such immense and forbidding darkness, and willingly to eat a hole in her soft side, to feel the gradually increasing transfusion of her blood through one’s veins, to lose everything that marked one as other than a worm, to become a brainless, senseless thing that was a fish – this is sheer fiction, beyond all belief unless we have seen the proof of it.

Like many marine life-forms, anglerfish spend their youths as plankton—very small or even microscopic creatures that drift with the ocean currents. Scientists think many marine creatures spend parts of their life cycles this way because it allows the animals to take advantage of other plankton as food and to be carried by ocean currents to far-flung regions before they have to grow up and settle down. (National Geographic. April 16 2010)

Photo: National Geographic. Accessed Monday 23 April 2012.

About Lisa Roberts

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