common name for a member of the family Ceratiidae, European and American bottom-dwelling predacious fishes. The angler lies on the bottom and lures its prey with a long, wormlike appendage that extends forward and dangles over its mouth. When the lure is touched, the huge mouth opens automatically. The deep-sea anglers are fantastic fishes, many with luminescent lures, that live at depths of 200 to 600 fathoms. The various species grow from 6 to 40 in. (15-500 cm) long. The parasitic males attach themselves to the females and do not develop eyes and digestive organs. The sargassum fishes, less than 6 in. (15 cm) long, have armlike pectoral fins and mottled coloration adapted to merge with the seaweed in which they live; they are found in warm Atlantic waters, as are the 8- to 12-in. (20-30 cm) batfishes, named for their jointed pectoral fins. The goosefish, the largest angler, reaches 4 ft (120 cm) and 50 lb (23 kg) and is capable of swallowing fish as big as itself. Angler fish are classified in the phylum Chordata
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Lophiiformes, family Ceratiidae.
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