When a male anglerfish finds a female in the deep sea, he won’t ever let her go – because he can’t.

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

There are several hundred species of anglerfish, and some suborders show extreme sexual dimorphism - meaning females can be up to 60 times longer and half a million times heavier than males. Their size difference makes them ideal candidates for a bizarre phenomenon known as sexual parasitism. Basically, males need females to survive and females need males to reproduce. But in the vast darkness and depths of the open ocean, finding each other can be an almost impossible task.

To stand a chance, male anglerfish need to use their disproportionally large nostrils to track the pheromonal cues of their lady loves and their complex and well-developed eyes, so that they can confirm a female’s identity. Females can also flash their bioluminescent esca or ‘lure,’ to ensure that they attract a partner of the same species. When a male does find a female in the deep sea, he won’t ever let her go – because he can’t. Mature male anglerfish have either no digestive system or it simply doesn’t work, so in order to survive they need to tap into the resources of female anglerfish. They do this by fuse-mating aka sexual parasitism. Males use their specialized hooked teeth to latch onto the female and then they release an enzyme that dissolves the skin between them. This gives males direct access to the female’s digestive system for nutrition and her circulatory system for gas exchange. In return, he’ll give her sperm.

This video, "When a male anglerfish finds a female in the deep sea, he won’t ever let her go – because he can’t.", first appeared on seeker.com.

Be the first to suggest a tag

    Comments

    0 comments