Thursday, August 6, 2015

A new anglerfish: Lasiognathus dinema

It took a Pixar movie to make them famous. If you ever seen Finding Nemo you will know what an anglerfish looks like and what they do to lure in their prey but I'd be happy to refresh your memory:

At the ocean depths this fish lives in, there is no sunlight. The only light is that from creatures that produce bioluminescence, which means they generate their own light source (with some help of symbiotic bacteria). Also, at these depths, the pressure is immense - over one ton per square cm. And the fight for food is never-ending. That's why these fish have developed their unique way of attracting prey - from the appendage at the top of their head, which resembles a fishing pole of sorts. And, like its human counterparts, this fish dangles the appendage until an unsuspecting fish swims up thinking they found a meal, only to quickly learn that they are, in fact, a meal themselves.

The new species, Lasiognathus dinema which, was found between 1,000-1,500 meters depth. The colleagues found three females specimens which ranged from 30 to 95 mm in length. The name dinema, is derived from the Greek, di, a prefix meaning “two,” and nema, “thread,” referring to two hook-like appendages on the fish's lure.

For the experts: A new species of the deep-sea ceratioid anglerfish genus Lasiognathus Regan (family Oneirodidae) is described on the basis of three female specimens collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Not especially similar to any of the five previously described members of the genus, the new species is unique in having a cylindrical, internally pigmented, anterior escal appendage and a pair of elongate distal escal appendages. The new species is diagnosed and described, and a revised key to the species of the genus is provided.

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