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Monkfish: description, habitat and interesting facts


In the waters of Primorye monkfish is sometimes found. He does not have a horn and hooves, but there is a fishing rod, and you can easily be afraid of his appearance.

It occurs, however, infrequently, since the fish is very deep, they usually arrange their ambushes at a depth of 700 to 3,000 meters. Another name for monkfish is anglerfish.

Anglerfish is a predatory sea fish. A special outgrowth on the back helps him hunt other inhabitants of the underwater world - one feather from the dorsal fin separated from the others during the course of evolution, and a transparent sac was formed at its end. In this pouch, which is actually a gland with a liquid, surprisingly, there are bacteria. They may shine, but they may not shine, submitting to their master in this matter. Anglerfish regulates the luminosity of bacteria by dilating or constricting blood vessels. When the vessels are dilated, more oxygen comes to the “lighting fixtures” and they burn with might and main, and when constricted they diminish.

Real deep-sea hunters resemble monstrous creatures frozen in the darkness of the bottom layers with huge teeth and weak muscles. They are passively attracted by slow deep-sea currents, or they simply lie at the bottom. With their weak muscles, they can not pull pieces from the prey, so they do it easier - swallow it whole. even if it surpasses the hunter in size. So angler fish hunt - fish with a lone mouth, to which they forgot to attach the body. And this water-bared head, grinded by a palisade of teeth, waves a tendril with a luminous spark at the end.

Anglerfish are small in size, reaching only 20 centimeters in length. The largest species of angler fish, such as ceraria, reach almost half a meter, others - melanocet or borofrina have an outstanding appearance.

Sometimes angler fish attack such large fish that an attempt to swallow them sometimes leads to the death of the hunter himself. So, once a 10-centimeter angler was caught, choking on a 40-centipe longtail.

Analyzing the catch after deep-sea trawling in the western Pacific, scientists turned their attention to the tightly stuffed abdomen of a tiny 6-centimeter angler, from which seven freshly gagged victims were extracted, including a 16-centimeter fish! Perhaps gluttony was the result of his brief intercourse with the prisoners of the trawl.

Some members of the angler family adapt even more sophisticatedly - acquire a folding rod or grow it directly in the mouth, while others shine.

Some time ago, scientists believed that the angler species is much more than is known now. No, they have not disappeared from the face of the Earth under the influence of human life. The trick is that male angler males have long been taken for certain species. Their differences with females are so great that there is nothing surprising in such a point of view.

Judge for yourself. The females of the black-necked anglerfish (which can be found in Primorye) grow to 60-65 cm, in tropical waters one-and-a-half meter creatures of 20 kg each can be found. But the size of free-living males usually does not exceed 16-46 millimeters! Fantastic difference.

The explanation is only after puberty individuals. At this time, males invade the skin of females and, gradually, their lips and tongue merge with the bodies of females. Their circulatory system becomes united, the male's stomach turns into an organ that produces sperm. Sometimes 3-4 males are found on the body of one female. Apparently, at great depths it is easier to reproduce offspring.

The common color of angler fish is black or dark brown. Commercial value they do not have. But, like any deep-sea fish, anglerfish causes the fair interest of biologists. After all, they are found everywhere (at depth, of course) and their biomass should be significant (remember the Baikal deep-water golomyanka), therefore, they must play a large role in marine ecosystems ..


Let us get acquainted with the description of the monkfish - the sea fish, which prefers deep crevices, where the sunlight never gets. The European angler is a big fish, body length reaches one and a half meters, about 70% falls on the head, the average weight is about 20 kg. Distinctive features of fish are as follows:

  • A huge mouth with a large number of small but sharp teeth gives it a repulsive appearance. The canines are located in the jaw in a special way: at an angle, which makes the capture of prey even more effective.
  • Naked and scaleless skin of the head with fringe, tubercles and spines also does not adorn the deep-sea inhabitants.
  • On the head is the so-called fishing rod - the continuation of the dorsal fin, at the end of which leathery bait is located. This feature of the monkfish determines its second name - anglerfish, despite the fact that the fishing pole is present exclusively in females.
  • The bait consists of mucus and is a leathery bag that emits light from the luminous bacteria that reside in the mucus. Interestingly, each type of anglerfish emits light of a certain color.
  • The upper jaw is more mobile than the lower jaw, and due to the flexibility of the bones, fish have the ability to swallow prey of impressive size.
  • Small closely set round eyes are located on the top of the head.
  • The color of the fish is inconspicuous: from dark gray to dark brown, which helps the angler to successfully mask at the bottom and deftly catch prey.

It is interesting how the fish hunt: it hides, exposing its bait. As soon as some unwary fish becomes interested, the devil will open the mouth and swallow it.


Find out where the angler fish (monkfish). The habitat depends on the species. For example, European anglers prefer to live at a depth of 200 meters, but their deep-sea counterparts, which are found more than a hundred species, have chosen for themselves depressions and crevices, where there is a lot of pressure and there is no sunlight at all. They can be found at a depth of 1.5 to 5 km in the seas of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are anglerfish in the so-called South (Antarctic) Ocean, which unites the waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, washing the shores of the white continent - Antarctica. Monkfish also lives in the Baltic and Barents, Okhotsk and Yellow Seas, off the coast of Korea and Japan, some species are found in the Black Sea.


Sea Devils - fish from the order of the fishermen. Currently, eight species are known, one of which is extinct. Representatives of each of them have a characteristic frightening appearance.

  • American anglerfish. Belongs to the bottom varieties, the body length is impressive - adult females are often more than a meter. Appearance resemble tadpoles because of the huge head. The average life expectancy is up to 30 years.
  • Southern European anglerfish or black-bellied. The length of the body is about one meter, the name of the species is related to the color of the peritoneum, the back and sides of the fish are pinkish-gray. The average life expectancy is about 20 years.
  • The West Atlantic anglerfish is a bottom fish, reaching a length of 60 cm. Object of fishing.
  • Cape (Burmese). The most visible part of his body is a giant flat head, also characterized by a short tail.
  • Japanese (yellow, far east). They have an unusual body color - brown-yellow, live in the Sea of ​​Japan, East China.
  • South African. It inhabits the southern coast of Africa.
  • European. A very large anglerfish, whose body length reaches 2 meters, is distinguished by a huge mouth in the shape of a crescent, its small sharp teeth resemble hooks. Fishing rod length - up to 50 cm.

Thus, all types of angler fish have common characteristics - a huge mouth with a large number of shallow, but sharp teeth, a bait with a bait - the most unusual way of hunting among the inhabitants of underwater depths, bare skin. In general, the view of the fish is really frightening, so the loud name is quite justified.


Scientists believe that the first angler fish appeared on the planet more than 120 million years ago. Body shape and lifestyle are largely determined by where the devil prefers to live. If the fish is bottom, then it is almost flat, but if the angler settles closer to the surface, it has a body compressed from the sides. But regardless of the habitat of the monkfish (anglerfish) refers to predators.

The devil is a unique fish, it moves along the bottom not like the rest of its brethren, but with jumps carried out thanks to a strong pectoral fin. From this, another name for a marine inhabitant is a frog fish.

Fish prefer not to expend energy, therefore, even while swimming, they spend no more than 2% of their energy reserves. They are distinguished by enviable patience, they are able not to move for a long time, waiting for prey, almost never breathing - the pause between sighs is about 100 seconds.

Earlier it was considered how the devil preys on prey, attracting it with a luminous bait. Interestingly, the fish do not perceive the size of their prey, often large specimens larger than the angler fish are caught in its mouth, so he cannot eat them. And because of the specifics of the device, the jaw cannot even let go.

Anglerfish is famous for its incredible gluttony and courage, so it can even attack scuba divers. Of course, deaths from such an attack are unlikely, but the sharp teeth of the anglerfish can disfigure the body of an unwary person.

Favorite food

As previously mentioned, anglers are predators, preferring to use other deep-sea inhabitants as feed. Among the favorite dainty treats of monkfish are:

  • Cod.
  • Flounder.
  • Ramps are small in size.
  • Acne.
  • Cuttlefish
  • Squids.
  • Crustaceans.

Sometimes mackerel or herring are victims of predators, this happens if the hungry angler rises closer to the surface.


Anglerfish is amazing in almost everything. For example, the breeding process is very unusual both for marine life and for wildlife in general. When partners find each other, the male sticks to the belly of his chosen one and firmly grows to it, the fish seem to become a single organism. Gradually, the process goes even further - fish appear in the general skin, blood vessels, and certain organs of the male — the fins and eyes — atrophy as unnecessary. It is because of this feature that researchers have not been able to detect the male anglerfish for a long time and describe it.

In males, only the gills, heart, and genitals continue to function.

Interesting Facts

Having got acquainted with the description of the monkfish and the peculiarities of its lifestyle, we suggest finding out some interesting facts about this horrible fish:

  • The fishing rods of some deep-sea anglers are clearly divided into a rod, a fishing line and a bait, becoming almost an exact replica of fishing gear.
  • Some types of angler fish are considered genuine delicacies. For example, tender monk meat or goose liver are the dishes that real gourmets want to try. They love monkfish in France, where soups and main dishes are cooked from its tail.
  • A very hungry representative of angler fish can even catch a waterfowl, but the hunt will be his last — choking on down and feathers, the fish will die.
  • Males and females are very different in size. So, for a female about 60 cm long, the male will be no more than 6 cm. Therefore, the male individuals parasitize on their “friends”, becoming part of a single whole.

Such is the monkfish - an unusual creation of nature, the inhabitant of the depths and an amazing predator, using a trick that is not typical for other representatives of the fauna. Thanks to its delicious white meat, almost devoid of bones, angler fish is a commercial value fish.

Features of appearance

When you look at the monkfish, you immediately notice the presence of an outgrowth on the head with a luminous tip in front of an ugly mouth, the so-called "fishing rod" for their shaped similarity.

With the help of it angler fish lures the victim and catches it. Hence the common name of the anglerfish.

The fish of the monkfish reaches a length of up to 2 meters with a weight of approximately 20 kg. Angler's body shape slightly flat. As a matter of fact, he is far from handsome in appearance and looks, to put it mildly, eerie.

His body is littered with ugly skin growths that resemble snags and algae. His head is too large in relation to the body and unpleasant, like the mouth opening. Scaly-free, gloomy, spotty-brown color with a green or red tint, slightly lighter on the abdomen, closer to white.

A wide maw with sharp huge teeth directed inward and perioral folds that constantly move to disguise. The eyes are small, the visual ability is underdeveloped, as is the function of smell. Here is such a cute monkfish.

Habitat and species

Monkfish in the catches of fishermen found in many seas. The European angler is common in the Atlantic. Here he lives at depths ranging from 20 to 500 m and more. It can be found in the seas along the coast of Europe, in the waters of the Barents and North Seas.

Far Eastern species of monkfish lives off the coast of Japan and Korea. Occurs in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, Yellow, South China Seas. Usually inhabits depths from 40–50 to 200 m. The American angler fish in the northern part of the Atlantic lives in shallow depth, and in the southern regions it is more common in the coastal zone. It can be detected at depths of up to 600 m with a wide range of water temperatures (0 - 20 ° C).

Juveniles hatched from caviar differ externally from adult individuals. At the beginning of life, they feed on plankton, live for several months in the upper layers of water, and upon reaching a length of 7 cm they change their appearance, sink to the bottom, and become predators. Intensive growth continues during the first year of life.

Not so long ago, in the depths of the ocean, related species of the monkfish were discovered. They were called deep-water anglers. They can withstand tremendous water pressure. They live at a depth of 2000 m.

Monkfish spends a lot of time in ambush. It lies motionless on the bottom, buried in the sand or disguised among stones and aquatic vegetation. "Hunting" can take him from 10 hours or more. At this time, he is actively playing bait to attract a curious victim. The leathery onion surprisingly accurately copies the movements of the fry or shrimp.

When an interested fish is nearby, the monkfish opens its mouth and sucks the water along with the victim. It takes a few milliseconds, so there is almost no chance of escape from sharp teeth. In special cases, the angler fish can jump forward, pushing with fins, or use the reactivity of a jet of water released through its narrow gill slits.

Most frequently, stingrays, eels, bullheads, flounders, and other bottom fish predominate in the monkfish diet. He does not disdain also shrimps and crabs. During the intensive zhora after spawning, it can rise to the upper layers of water and, despite poor eyesight and smell, can attack mackerel and herring. It is reported on the cases of monkfish hunting for waterfowl. It can be dangerous at such times for a person.

Monkfish: reproduction

The male and female angler fish are so different in appearance and size that, until some time, experts attributed them to different classes. Reproduction of monkfish is the same special moment as its appearance and hunting method.

The anglerfish male is several times smaller in size than the female. In order to fertilize the spawn, he needs to find his chosen one and not lose sight of her. To do this, the males simply bite into the body of the female. The structure of the teeth does not allow them to free themselves, and they don’t want it.

Over time, the female and male grow together, forming a single organism with a common body. Some of the organs and systems of the "husband" atrophy. He no longer needs eyes, fins, stomach. Nutrients flow through the blood vessels from the body of the "wife." The only thing left for the male is to fertilize the eggs at the right time.

They are swept away by the female usually in spring. The fecundity of the sea angler is quite high. On average, the female throws up to 1 million eggs. It occurs at depth, looks long (up to 10 m) and wide (up to 0.5 m) tape. The female can wear several “husbands” on her body so that they fertilize a large number of eggs at the right time.

Interesting features

Monkfish (photo above) is not able to compare the feeling of hunger with the size of the prey. There is evidence of how the angler caught fish larger than himself, but could not let it go due to the peculiarities of the structure of the teeth. It happens that a monkfish catches a waterfowl and chokes with feathers, which leads to its death.

"Feet" is only for females. Each species of these fish has a peculiar bait, peculiar only to them. It differs not only in form. Bacteria that live in the mucus of a leathery onion emit light of a certain range. For this they need oxygen.

Angler can adjust the glow. Поев, он временно пережимает кровеносные сосуды, ведущие к приманке, и этим уменьшает поступление туда крови, обогащенной кислородом. Бактерии перестают светиться – фонарик гаснет. В нем временно нет надобности, к тому же свет может привлечь более крупного хищника.

Морской черт, хоть и противный на вид, мясо имеет вкусное, а в отдельных регионах считается деликатесом. The courage and gluttony of this predator give rise to fear for divers and scuba divers. It is better to stay away from a hungry angler, especially a large one.