Fun Fish Fact Friday: The Anglerfish and sexy time

Anglerfish are pretty gruesome looking deep sea fish. They get their name from the filament growing out of their head that looks like a fishing lure. This lure is from a modified dorsal fin spine and often contains a fleshy bit at the end that has bioluminescent bacteria.

Anyway, we are here to talk about anglerfish sexy time. In one group of angler fish, the Ceratioids, the males and females have an unusual way of going about sexy time. You see, male ceratioids are small little guys with a powerful sense of smell. His only purpose in life is the find a female. So, using  his powerful sense of smell, he searches a female out. When he finds her, he doesn’t want to loose her, so he bites onto her. And then he releases an enzyme that dissolves his lips and the skin of the female. They end up fusing together down to the level of blood vessels. Then the male literally begins to waste away. He loses his digestive organs, eyes, heart, brain, everything until he basically becomes just  a pair of gonads sticking out the side of the female. These male gonads will release sperm in response to female hormonal changes which indicate the release of eggs. Females are often found with multiple “males” hanging off of them. Crazy, right!!! Look at the pics below.

Female anglerfish with male hanging off of her back. Photo found here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/rss/podcasts/weirdfins/anglerfish.htm

Up close photo of male on female’s back.

The Oatmeal has a hilarious take on this in comic form. You can check it out here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/angler

 

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Close Encounters of the Fishy Kind

Hello readers. Sorry this post is so late in the day. The semester has started and I TA genetics in the fall, which means I am about 100x more busy than I used to be. Today I thought I would bring you another fun fish post.

Fish come in all sorts of amazing colors and shapes. I think that is why I like them so much. Well, today’s feature fish really looks like it is from out of this world. It’s the Barreleye fish, Macropinna microstoma. This fish has a transparent head!!!! And green lensed tubular eyes that have the ability to look straight up and forward!!! And you see them through its transparent head!! This fish lives in the deep ocean, where light is extremely scarce. Their eyes are super sensitive and help these fish detect prey in the dark. When you watch the video, the two little holes above the mouth are actually its nostrils. So, watch this video to see this crazy, awesome fish and keep reminding yourself that this is a real fish!! More info can be found at the link here: http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2009/barreleye/barreleye.html

Fun Fish Fact: Some Fish Change Sex!!

People often argue against homosexuality because they say it isn’t “natural”. However, if you actually go into nature, you will find some pretty crazy stuff happening. One of those crazy things is the switching of sex during the lifetime of an organism. Some species of fish are known to undergo these sex changes during their lifetime, and I thought it would be fun to tell you about them. Continue reading