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THAR SHE GLOWS

Video: Rare glimpse of the predator fish Black Seadevil caught on film

Gwynn Guilford
By Gwynn Guilford

Reporter

Her first film debut was in 2003, when her mesmerizing orb nearly lured Marlin and Dory into her jaws in the Pixar blockbuster Finding Nemo. But that was in computer-animated form. The female Black Seadevil, one of the great marvels of evolution, was caught on film by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)—the first time ever at a mid-water depth:

These deep-sea beasties—Melanocetus is its genus—are known as “ambush predators.” The bioluminescent tip that extends from the female anglerfishes’ upper lip works as a light-up “fishing pole” to attract prey, says MBARI, via io9. Their enormous mouth and saggy gut allow them to swallow prey up to four times their size.

The footage of this nine-centimeter (3.5-inch) fish was captured about 580 meters (1,900 feet) under the surface by Doc Ricketts, MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle.

Like other anglerfish, only female Black Seadevils sport the glowing lure, and they’re tend to be about 10 times larger than males. Every once in a while, male anglerfish sidle up to the females and bite into their sides to mate, exchanging gametes and food. But because anglerfish tend to cruise at great depths, little else is known about them.

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