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The Male Humpback Anglerfish is Absorbed in his Mate!
Successful for millions of years before man
The Abyss is full of marvels
The Humpback Anglerfish: Is this the Ultimate Female Power-Play!?
In my quest to bring you more and more weird fellow travellers on Spaceship Earth, I have almost exhausted the surface of the planet and even the upper reaches of our oceans. I am now having to penetrate the almost unknown abyss of the deep waters; down really deep where sunlight cannot penetrate, to a mile or more beneath the surface where huge forces would crush a warm-blooded mammal.
The protagonist of today's treatment is one of the ugliest creatures, measured against aesthetic human standards, and a real man (read male) hater! Mind you, as we shall see, she is so revolting on the eye, what happens to her mate might be for the best. This lady makes "coyote ugly" a term for the merely homely!
Also known as the "Common Black Devilfish," and scientifically as the "Melanocetus Johnsonii," the female humpback anglerfish looks like your worst nightmare, (or perhaps number two in sheer horror after a dream featuring the the mother-in-law). It is one- third huge gaping mouth with rows of slashing teeth and, in common with all anglerfish, has the "fishing-rod" like protuberance from above the upper jaw with a luminous, wriggling, tip which the predator dangles in front of its intended prey, attracting them in range of the slashing teeth.
By no means a rareity, the Humpback variety can be found in both temperate and tropical waters at depths of 2000 meters (6,600 feet) where its fragile structure of watery flesh and light bone allows it to hang in place waiting for its unwary victims.
At first, one wonders at th disparity in size between the female and male fish. He is a mere 1.2 inches in length before his "disappearance," (read on), she, a full 7 to 8 inches. (Note: at this point our information about these denizens of the depths is naturally sketchy, obtained from submersibles or samples brought to the surface in pressurized tanks which don't live long).
The end of life as we (and he) knows it for the close-to-mature male anglerfish begins as, perhaps in the sway of heady passion, or blinded by revulsion, he permanently attaches himself to the rear of the female's body, (At last that face is hidden!).
From this point until the female's death, the male becomes as nothing more than a parasite to his bride: eventually, his own organs atrophy and he becomes a mere appendage to the female using her nutrients and blood supply - really little more than a set of her own gonads!
To the female humpback angler fish, she has the perfect mate: says nothing, goes where she goes, never looks at other females, needs very little and is there for the female fish as just the SPERM DONOR.
Many of today's modern women might see this as an ideal position for their mate...If you think that is far fetched look at the increase of all-female couples or single mums with donor children whom never see their real dad!
If the many predatory fish, such as the Anglers, lived at shallow depths and were larger, no one could ever enter the sea as they make Piranas look like kittens!
(Diogenes' exotic and weird creatures may be appearing in their own book soon, I will let you know when and if).