Just when you thought deep sea creatures couldn’t get any stranger, a new species of anglerfish was discovered due to the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Scientific American is reporting that three of these fish were captured via environmental monitoring stations put in place by NOAA to gauge the impact of the oil spill. They exist in the bathypelagic which is the most under-sampled portion of the Earth, which could mean that other new critters are lurking there, too.
They seem to feel right at home with an eardrum-crushing 4,000 feet of water over their heads. To put that in perspective, the human record for scuba diving is just over 1,000 ft. There’s little chance you’ll run into one of these toothy gals with your surf shop snorkel gear on your next vacation.
How do I know they’re gals? Let’s just say that unattached good guys are hard to come by in the anglerfish dating pool (so many puns). Learn more in about their biology in this hilariously narrated True Facts video.
Anglerfish are an incredible diverse and purpose-built type creature and it’s impossible to know what other oddities and variations hunt the deep sea. This new species, Lasiognathus dinema, has hardened hooks built into its fleshy bait at the end of its fishing rod appendage, enlarged in the photo below. The control mechanism for the fishing rod appendage has a slotted groove at its base to help the anglerfish create the most tantalizing presentation possible.
While unfortunate this species had to be found as a result of a man-made disaster, it is exciting to consider what other life forms are yet to be discovered on our ever-shrinking planet. With advances in technology that allow us to dive deeper for longer periods of time, we’re bound to continue finding more strange fish.