What Do Angler Fish Eat?

angler-fish-eat Credit: Dr Clive Bromhall/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

Angler fish are opportunistic foragers, but the most frequent prey of the threadfin angler fish is the pandalid shrimp; however they also eat teleost fish and crustaceans. Scientists determine what angler fish eat by examining their stomach contents. They found over half the fish they examined had an empty stomach, supporting the belief that these fish are low-energy consumers.

The common angler fish has a much more varied diet and lives off the coast of Europe. Usual foods for this species includes squid, small sharks and turtles, although if a diving bird comes too close underwater, it may become the next meal for this 5-foot predator.

The angler fish uses its modified dorsal fin as a lure to attract other fish. This fleshy growth resembles a fishing rod, which is where the fish gets its name. Some angler fish have a light provided by lumanistic bacteria at the end of the growth to help attract prey deep in the ocean where there is little sunlight.

There are several species of angler fish. Depending on the species, these fish range from a few inches in length to over 5 feet. The common angler fish weighs up to 45 pounds and is an important food in many European diets.