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Angler Fish

The habitats of the angler fish (Lat: Lophius piscatorius) are in the North Atlantic, from Iceland, the Faroe Islands to the British Isles, into the Mediterranean, and along the coast of Africa to the Bay of Guinea. A closely related species has its habitats off America. In 1978 the total catch was 40 thousand tonnes. The fish is delicious if properly prepared and is often referred to as the “poor man’s lobster”.

Well camouflaged

The angler’s average size is 40-60 cm, but it reaches 1,7 metres length and 30-40 kilogrammes weight. It is a bottom dweller from 100-1000 m. depths. It spawns in the warm sea, but when and where is still unknown. The roes count close to 1 million each time. The fish glues them to a 8-10 metres long strand, 15-45 cm. wide. One roe decides the width. The strand is gray violet in colour in the beginning, but gets darker with time, while being carried by the currents until the roes hatch. The fries look very strange and stay in the currents until they are 6-7 cm long, when they lower themselves to the ocean floor in shallows.

The angler is well camouflaged on the bottom because of its colour. It lures its prey by swinging the dorsal fin beam. When the prey is close enough, the angler opens its wide mouth and swallows it. Its steel sharp teeth can be retracted to facilitate the swallowing. The food is eel, skate, grey gurnard, and other fish species. Sometimes it swallows diving birds. It is mainly caught with other fish species in trawl nets or on hooks.