Rare, elusive marine fish observed

Aug. 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM
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MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. marine scientists say they've captured the first-ever video of a rare anglerfish first identified from a dead specimen in 1891 but never seen alive.

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California are reporting the first observations of the deep-sea anglerfish Chaunacops coloratus using remotely operated undersea vehicles.

All anglerfish have ability to attract prey, using parts of their bodies as lures.

During one ROV dive, the researchers said, they observed C. coloratus deploying a shaggy, mop-like lure, called an esca, which it dangled from the end of a modified fin near the top of its head.

After an unsuccessful attempt at attracting a meal, the anglerfish stowed its fishing gear away in a special cavity located between its eyes, they said.

Researchers said the ROV dives showed C. coloratus can live as deep as 11,000 feet below the ocean's surface.

In addition to documenting these fish using their built-in lures and walking on the seafloor, the researchers discovered the fish change color from blue to red as they get older.

The fish likely begins its life in a transparent larval form, they said, turns blue as a juvenile and then turns red at adulthood.

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