Humpback anglerfish

Do you like the sea? I’m sure most of us love a swim in its waters in the summertime, feel relaxed admiring its powerful waves and enjoy the smell and the sense of freedom when the pleasant sea breeze comes up.

But, how do you feel about its inhabitants, especially when you are having a swim in the ocean? Opinions are divided at this point. On one side we have sea life lovers, who dream about having contact with sea creatures. On the opposite corner, we have the ones who get anxious only at the thought of being lightly touched by something under the water.

If you are part of the first group, I’m sure you are going to enjoy this article. If you are in the second one, don’t worry, it’s quite unlikely that you are going to have contact with the amazing creature I’m going to talk to you about.

The humpback anglerfish

This grotesque creature is not the creation of a sci-fi movie screenwriter or the monster of a tale meant to scare children, but one of the inhabitants of the abyssal trenches (the deepest parts of the oceans). Its name is deep sea anglerfish or humpback anglerfish, and it has many characteristics that make it unique. Let’s see some of these:

General characteristics:

The high pressures that exist in the depths of the sea make the vast majority of the deep-sea fishes known today possess a soft body, and our friend it’s not an exception. Another remarkable aspect of the body of the Humpback anglerfish is its very jelly-like aspect. One of the reasons why these fish don’t have bones is due to the lack of nutrients in their diet, especially calcium and vitamin D. Without these two components it’s difficult for the fish to maintain strong bones and, of course, develop spines.

As you can see in the picture, the Humpback anglerfish has a giant mouth and pronounced sharp teeth. These teeth seem not to obey any specific order, which causes the fish to have a terrifying and dangerous appearance.
heir If you are getting worried about your next swim after seeing this animal, I have two good news for you (apart from the fact that it lives thousands of meters under the surface):

1- Its reproduction is not in masses nor very often, this is why there are not many of them on the ocean floor.

2- The abyssal or humpback anglerfish has a small size. Its approximate size is between 12 to 30 centimeters in length, so we are not talking about a monster that can eat the crew of a ship.
On this aspect, it’s worth mentioning that deep-sea fish have sexual dimorphism since the females are much larger than the males.

humpback anglerfish


One of the most fascinating characteristics of this fish is the fact that they have a “lamp”:

A small antenna that protrudes from the head, specifically from the nose, and has a downward curved shape.

A large number of bacteria congregate at the end of this formation, capable of producing light on their own, and which are also usually in the concave part of the small eyes of the fish, which is a total benefit for the humpback anglerfish since they have difficulty seeing.

So with the help of the light that bacteria emit, fish can swim without any problem.

humpback anglerfish

What Do Humpback Anglerfish Feed On?

The abyssal fish’s diet is irregular, because in the depths in which it inhabits food is scarce. Among the possibilities are: the remains torn by other species in the not-so-deep areas in which they inhabit. These organic sediments descend gradually until the vast deep sea.

In addition, this species usually feeds on both plant and animal zooplankton. Moreover, small microorganisms or fully developed animals such as small crustaceans and molluscs complete their diet.

So, what’s your opinion about this unusual inhabitant of the ocean? Do you find it terrifying or fascinating?

One thing is for sure: this creature is not leaving you indifferent.


  1. What’s the meaning of the term “sexual dimorphism”?
  2. How does the lamp of the humpback anglerfish work?
  3. Where does the humpback anglerfish live?

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