What Are Some Anglerfish Facts for Kids?

There are over 200 different species of anglerfish, most of which live in the deep parts of the ocean at depths of around one mile. Their most defining trait is a small luminescent dorsal fin that has developed to hang over their heads like a fishing line, which glows and attracts prey. This unique fin only appears on females.

Most anglerfish are so big and their bodies so flexible that they can swallow prey up to twice their size. Their mouths are lined with sharp, translucent teeth that are angled inwards to prevent prey from escaping, as finding food at the depths in which most species live can be challenging. Some members of the species can grow to sizes of over three meters in length and weigh over 100 pounds.

Males of the species have no need for the lighted lure that females have because of the unique way in which they reproduce. Instead of finding food, a male anglerfish, which is significantly smaller than a female, finds a mate and attaches to her with specially developed teeth. Once attached, the male releases a special enzyme that dissolves the surrounding skin, allowing the male to actually grow into and bond to the female's body. Once attached in this way, the female shares its bloodstream with the male, keeping it fed and nourished.