Monday, August 24, 2009
Okay, so I was going to write about the interesting adaptation of Angler Fish using fluorescent light (caused by bacteria) to attract it's prey; however, I figure everyone has seen "Finding Nemo" and knows about the anglerfishes feeding habits. What you may not know is how these fish mate. The anglerfish that get all the starring roles in kid's films are females, as only they have the luminescent bait that attracts their prey. Males have no need for this type of fishing gear since they are much smaller than the ladies. The males are a parasitic fish that depends solely on the females to survive. Once the male matures he will seek out a companion and will bite her with his small hooked teeth (no, not in a kinky way). Once he bites her an enzyme is released that breaks down his mouth and her skin causing the two fish to fuse together (and you thought a wedding ring was permanent). Eventually, the blood vessels of the two fish join and the majority of the males organs disappear, with the exception of the testes. Basically, the only purpose the male anglerfish serves is to provide sperm to the female as she matures. At any one time, the female anglerfish may have up to six male fish attached to her. My guess as to the reasoning for this bizarre mating behaviour has a lot to do with the environment that anglerfish reside in. The dark, cold, deep and vast depths of the ocean are not a hospitable place and finding suitable mates may be difficult. By employing this mating method the females are almost guaranteed to have a suitable mate on hand when it comes time to reproduce thus keeping the population healthy.
I bet this post has given you a whole new opinion of the term "Free-loader"!