Sunday, December 5News That Matters

Monster from the deep! Anglerfish with a lifeless glaze and pointed teeth washes on California beach

A ‘nightmarish’ fish with teeth like pointed shards of glass and a ‘light-bulb’ antennae dangling from its head was spotted on a California beach when it typically swims some 3,000 feet below the surface.

The deep-sea fish, one of more than 200 species of an anglerfish, was found at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County by beachgoer and fisherman Ben Estes.

Wildlife officials have called the sighting a ‘rare find’ due to how intact the 18-inch wide Pacific football fish is, but they are uncertain how or why the fish ended up on the shore.

‘They’re just so deep that not a lot of people get to see them or study them,’ Jessica Roame, the education coordinator at Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching, told the Los Angeles Times.

‘For it to just float up and show up on a local beach off our California coast, many things had to go right for that to happen. … We were all just geeking out over the fact it was there.’

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A 'nightmarish' fish with teeth like pointed shards of glass and a 'light-bulb' antennae dangling from its head was spotted on a California beach when it typically swims some 3,000 feet below the surface

A 'nightmarish' fish with teeth like pointed shards of glass and a 'light-bulb' antennae dangling from its head was spotted on a California beach when it typically swims some 3,000 feet below the surface

A ‘nightmarish’ fish with teeth like pointed shards of glass and a ‘light-bulb’ antennae dangling from its head was spotted on a California beach when it typically swims some 3,000 feet below the surface

The Pacific football fish was frozen Monday after being removed from the beach Friday morning.

Officials at Crystal Cove State Park have considered placing the specimen in the museum as it only has three species of anglerfish in the collection of some three million fish.

There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, but they are hard to study due to the depths of their homes.

However, experts are able to quickly identify the creatures due to their gruesome appearance.

The deep-sea fish, one of more than 200 species of an anglerfish, was found at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County by beachgoer and fisherman Ben Estes

The deep-sea fish, one of more than 200 species of an anglerfish, was found at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County by beachgoer and fisherman Ben Estes

The deep-sea fish, one of more than 200 species of an anglerfish, was found at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County by beachgoer and fisherman Ben Estes

They possess a lifeless gaze through completely black eyes attaches to the sides of their flat head.

What makes anglerfish so unique is a dangling bioluminescent protrusion that juts from their face that it uses to hunt prey.

The tip glows through bioluminescence, which is produced by symbiotic bacteria, which acts as a fishing pole to lure prey close enough to the fish’s mouth that is filled with razor sharp teeth – but the tentacle is only featured on females.

And the creature is capable of sucking in prey as large as its own body.

There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, but they are hard to study due to the depths of their homes. However, experts are able to quickly identify the creatures due to their gruesome appearance.

There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, but they are hard to study due to the depths of their homes. However, experts are able to quickly identify the creatures due to their gruesome appearance.

There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, but they are hard to study due to the depths of their homes. However, experts are able to quickly identify the creatures due to their gruesome appearance.

Females can grow up to 24 inches, while males only grow about an inch long and their only purpose on the planet is to find a female and reproduce

Females can grow up to 24 inches, while males only grow about an inch long and their only purpose on the planet is to find a female and reproduce

Females can grow up to 24 inches, while males only grow about an inch long and their only purpose on the planet is to find a female and reproduce

Females can grow up to 24 inches, while males only grow about an inch long and their only purpose on the planet is to find a female and reproduce.

But when a male finds its mate, it latches onto the female with their teeth and becomes a ‘sexual parasite’ eventually coalescing with the female until nothing is left of their form but their testes for reproduction.

The male becomes entirely dependent on the female for nutrient supply, like a developing fetus in the womb of a mother.

In 2018, scientists revealed footage of live anglerfish mating for the first time, according to a report in Science Magazine.

Before then, anglerfish mating pairs had reportedly only been observed in dead specimens caught in nets.

The eerie footage shows the female’s glowing filaments extending all around her body, as the tiny male clings on.

The footage was captured at a depth of 2,600 feet off Portugal’s São Jorge Island by husband and wife deep sea explorers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen using a remotely operated vehicle.

The permanent attachment of males to females represents what the scientists call a form of ‘anatomical joining’, unknown in humans except for rare genetically identical twins. 

WHAT IS SEXUAL PARASITISM?

A female fanfin seadevil anglerfish is shown

A female fanfin seadevil anglerfish is shown

A female fanfin seadevil anglerfish is shown

Many species of deep-sea anglerfish are known to engage in a type of reproduction known as sexual parasitism.

While they aren’t the only creatures to mate in this way, the behaviour has largely come to be associated with these fish, among which more than 20 species are known to do it, according to Brittanica.

Female anglerfish are much larger than the males.

When it’s time to mate, a male will bite onto the massive female and in some cases even fuse to her body, joining their tissues and circulatory systems.

The male becomes dependent on the female for nutrients – and, he turns into her permanent sperm supply.

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