Bizarre Ocean Creatures: The Angler Fish
The angler fish is perhaps one of the most fascinating and bizarre sea creatures known to man. Not only known for its wily predation techniques (re: possessing a spine that grows its own glowing fleshy mass, which the fish wiggles about to lure in other predatory sea creatures that it will ultimately devour), the angler fish’s mating habits are rather unique.
When scientists first discovered the angler, for instance, they noticed that almost all of those observed were female…and that these specimens had what appeared to be some sort of parasitic growth attached to their lower parts.
Turns out that those “parasites” were actually just greatly reduced male angler fish, whose puny size means that the male angler fish’s sole objective in life is to find and mate with a female. Once they do find a female partner, male anglers quickly bite into the female’s skin and thus fuse them together–so much so that all that is discernible of the male angler fish are two globular growths on the female’s skin: its gonads.
From this point on, the male’s life literally depends on its female host, as they share a circulatory system. And, well, just about everything else. When the female is ready to mate, the male pays his dues by providing her with sperm on the spot so that she might impregnate herself.
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