Getting Attached to Female Anglerfish

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

A spell back, I was riding out near Stinking Lake (which is not as bad as it sounds) when I happened across Jacqueline Hyde, the romantic interest of Rusty Swingset from the Darwin Ranch. She surprised me by telling me that Rusty has been getting way to clingy lately. I commenced to telling her about the female anglerfish.

Symbiosis and parasitism are found between the male and female anglerfish. This creature is not friendly to evolution.
Someone finds this female anglerfish, Cryptopsaras couesii, attractive
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Masaki Miya et al. (CC BY 2.0)
It just so happened that a supporter of The Question Evolution Project had sent me a link to an article to investigate. It was written by Dr. Toshiro Saruwatari of the Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, and was rather interesting. Also startling that Dr. Saruwatari did not feel the need to pay homage to Papa Darwin. (Wikipedia didn't have much to say about evolution except to throw out a line of speculation based on the illogical process of phylogenetics). Instead, he wrote about his research. That's what researchers are supposed to do, old son.

Anglerfish live way down in the deep ocean's nothingmuch. There was a time when it was thought that the darkness, pressure, and other factors would prohibit life, but there are some fascinating critters in the abyss — especially these predators with the portable lure-lanterns. What is rather startling is how the Creator designed an unusual combination of symbiosis and parasitism. Feminazis are going to be thrilled with this: the male is much smaller and cannot survive without the female, so he adheres to her. A kind of merging, I suppose. However, Saruwatari learned that the belief that the males become absorbed by the females, leaving only a knob or bump, is false.

I'll let the good doctor tell you share his excitement in a PDF, "Debunking an urban legend of the Deep Sea: The Queen of the Abyss and her contribution to Ceratioid Anglerfish biology". If you can find a date that this would be published, I'm be much obliged if you'd drop me a line.

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