Anglerfish: Catch of the Day

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 27th, 2007

New AnglerfishThe fish found off Sydney’s coast. Picture: Rob Harcourt

Catch of the day too ugly for words

SCIENTISTS are still trying to decide how best to describe the mystery fish found off Sydney’s coast, but pretty isn’t a word that’s likely to be used.

“It’s a striking-looking fish … hideously ugly would be a fair description,” said Rob Harcourt, researcher at the Sydney Harbour Institute of Marine Studies.

The fish, found off Bare Island at La Perouse, appears to be from a new genus.

Dr Harcourt said the fish was originally seen by divers. He later dived in the same spot and found the creature, an anglerfish.

“They asked me what it was and I couldn’t identify it so we sent photos to the Australian Museum, but they couldn’t identify it,” Dr Harcourt said.

Photos and a specimen have been sent to international fish expert Ted Pietsch at the University of Washington in the US.

“He (Pietsch) said it’s not a new species, it’s probably a new genus,” Dr Harcourt said.

“We were extraordinarily excited when we got the email back.”

Genus is one higher than species on the classification table for naming organisms.

Using a whole specimen, Professor Pietsch is presently describing the fish for science, as its differences from other anglerfish are unknown.

“There is nothing known about its breeding or other habits; it’s a totally blank page,” Dr Harcourt said.

The fish was found in October 2005.

The anglerfish can fit in the palm of a man’s hand. It is grey-brown and sits on the sea floor, where it waits for prey.

A spine protruding from its head has a small orange lure dangling from the end. When smaller fish are fooled into thinking it is food and come close, the anglerfish darts forward and swallows them.

“It’s a sit-and-wait predator,” Dr Harcourt said.Brendan O’Keefe

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

11 Responses to “Anglerfish: Catch of the Day”

  1. UKCryptid responds:

    Am I the only person that finds these creatures stunning and indeed attractive in all it’s detail? Probably, lol.

  2. kitakaze responds:

    What a fantastically ugly fish.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    Funny, they probably think that WE are the fantastically ugly ones. Beauty is all relative.

  4. Bob Michaels responds:

    It looks just like Sen Reid from Nevada, since it’s a new genus, it should be named after him.

  5. dogu4 responds:

    He DOES have the smile of our vice president.

  6. peterbernard responds:

    That’s not real, that’s cgi!! No wait, it’s a Higley gaff! Yes, it does smile like Cheney, doesn’t it…

  7. size 13 responds:

    Dangerfish? (it kinda looks like ol’ Rodney) no respect, he he he.
    Wait a minute…….that’s someone in a suit.

  8. fuzzy responds:

    There are many Angler Fish out there ~ what makes this one a whole new genus?

  9. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I can’t see anything- blobfish.

  10. springheeledjack responds:

    I think all the sea critters are cooool….ugly is in the eye of the Beholder…

  11. shumway10973 responds:

    chalk one up to curiosity and common sense. If those divers thought that every animal was already discovered, then they wouldn’t have ask a person, probably just looked it up. Plus, if the scientist wasn’t curious, this little bugger would still be on the ocean floor unnoticed. cool!

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