Introduction: Under phylum chordata, class actinopterygii, and species lophius americanus, the angler fish, specifically commonly known as the monkfish is the organism that interests me. (Castro 2010) There are over two hundred different angler species so I brought in some comparisons of them all but focused mainly on the monkfish. I originally choose this species because I saw it in Finding Nemo. I read ratemyprofessor.com before choosing my classes. A student had commented that when picking your species for the species report to pick an animal that you do not know much about because it will make the project more interesting and easier to do. I did not know anything about the angler fish at first, including its name. It worked out perfectly because almost everything I read about the angler fish was fascinating to me making me want to read more.
Description: The appearance of this fish is probably the most notable. It looks nothing like what people presume a normal fish would look like. Most of these characteristics are due to adaptation. (Castro 2010) First, its mouth takes up a whole two thirds of its body size, leaving only one third for its fins, tail, stomach and other organs. (Robison 2011) This is an adaptation for feeding, which will be explained in the feeding section of this paper. (Castro 2010) It has extremely sharp long teeth that come out of the top and bottom of its mouth but strangely are not connected. (Castro 2010) They have gaps in between the teeth. (Castro 2010) Second, the illicium is an obvious protruding pole like structure, which comes out of from what looks to be the fish’s forehead. (Hutchins 2003) The females possess this characteristic. (Perun 2011) What this really is, is an “angling apparatus that is derived from the most anterior spine of the dorsal fin.” (Hutchins 2003) The tip of the illicium has a fleshy growth called the esca. (Hutchins 2003) The esca is bioluminescent and glows to help attract prey. (Hutchins 2003) The illicium can move in all directions, while the esca just wiggles in place to look like the foods prey. (Hutchins 2003) The anglerfish essentially fishes for fish, hence where the angler fish gets its name. (Castro 2010) Third, it also has very small eyes. (Castro 2010) The reason for this is because there is virtually almost no use for them in its deep-sea habitat. (Castro 2010) It is very hard to see in deep waters; plus this fish does not go searching for its food. (Castro 2010) The monkfish along with other anglers have a varied range in size and color. (Perun 2011) They can vary from a few inches all the way to two meters long. (Robison 2011) The females are larger in size than the males. (Castro 2010) They males are usually the size of your pinky. (Robison 2011) The coloration is very diverse. Some are brownish black, or gray, where others are reddish brown. (Perun 2011) Most tend to be darker colored than bright. Special coloring reflects blue light making them “invisible to other fish”. (Robison 2011) This is an adaptation used as a defense mechanism. (Hutchins 2003) “Jelly like skin” covers their rounded shaped body. (Hutchins 2003) This makes it harder for the fish to swim because it is not very aerodynamic. (Castro 2010) They have more of a slow bobbing motion compared to most fish that can make more swift quick movements. (Robison 2011) Strangely the gills are located posterior the base of the pectoral fin. (Hutchins 2003) The monkfish also has a dorsal fin, caudal fin, and anal fin. (Castro 2010)
Distribution: If you want to find an anglerfish the main place to look is deep ocean waters. (Hutchins 2003) They can be found in up to 2,625 feet deep, although you will most not likely find larger sized anglerfishes deeper than 1,312 feet. (Hutchins 2003) They are found all over the world in marine habitats except for the frogfish or antennariid that has been seen in fresh water. (Hutchins 2003) They don’t have a particular