Anglerfish, their secrets and the dangers that threaten them



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Anglerfish, their secrets and the dangers that threaten them

Anglerfish are deep-sea fish, in most cases. They live in all oceans, from 20 to over 1000 meters deep, where sunlight is absent, in the marine depths.
Northwest European Lophius species are listed by the ICES as outside safe biological limits.

Additionally, anglerfish are known to occasionally rise to the surface during El Niño, leaving large groups of dead anglerfish floating on the surface. In 2010, Greenpeace International added the American angler, the angler, and the black-bellied angler to its seafood red list, a list of fish commonly sold worldwide with a high likelihood of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.

One family, the Lophiidae, is of commercial interest with fisheries found in western Europe, eastern North America, Africa, and East Asia. In Europe and North America, the tail meat of fish of the genus Lophius, known as monkfish or goosefish (North America), is widely used in cooking, and is often compared to lobster tail in taste and texture.

In Africa, the countries of Namibia and the Republic of South Africa record the highest catches. In Asia, especially Japan, monkfish liver, known as ankimo, is considered a delicacy. Anglerfish is especially heavily consumed in South Korea, where it is featured as the main ingredient in dishes such as Agujjim.
It is not known exactly whether this order of fish is very numerous, as man has so far explored a minimal part of the marine environment.

They are predators by nature, feeding on any life form they come within range, mostly small deep-sea fish. Sometimes, if forced, they are subjected to cannibalism to survive. Usually they do not attack man, as he is unable to go down to such depths without the aid of submarines, and it seems that these fishes are not interested in the sight of such means of transport, preferring to wander around in search of an easy prey.

The males, although they may behave as parasites of the females, actually cling to the aforementioned in a non-violent way. The male takes part of her nourishment from the womb of the female, while the latter receives a continuous flow of sperm from the former.

The eggs are collected in a kind of gelatinous ribbon and are left in shallow water, safe from most other predators. Once hatched, already formed newborns emerge from the eggs which, guided by instinct, enter their territories.

They are predatory fish characterized by a large head with a wide mouth, equipped with numerous pointed teeth, and a sort of fleshy appendage or mobile antenna present on the forehead which gives off natural light to attract the attention of the curious prey they feed on.

They all have both skeleton and skin, are devoid of scales and their fins are of a different shape than those of most fish. Many of these fish have an elastic digestive system. Generally the lophiforms have a flattened or stocky body and their dimensions are, for most of the members of this order, medium-small, while the famous monkfish can reach 2 m in length and weigh more than 50 kg.