Every now and then nature likes to remind us that there is some seriously weird stuff out there.
Like this Black Sea Devil anglerfish, which was filmed looking not unlike a horror film prop in the waters of California’s Monterey Bay.
Anglerfish have been caught on video only a handful of times and this clip from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is believed to be the first ever of the fish alive.
It was captured on film by the remotely operated submersible vehicle Doc Ricketts in Monterey Canyon.
MBARI posted the footage to its website, writing: “This is the first time we’ve captured this fish on video in its habitat.
“Anglerfish, like this Melanocetus, are among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes. The shining spot at the tip of the ‘fishing pole’ projecting from the fish’s head is a glowing lure.
“The anglerfish uses its light to attract prey in its deep, dark, habitat.”
MBARI senior scientist Bruce Robison told the Santa Cruz Sentinel: “We’ve been diving out here in the Monterey Canyon regularly for 25 years, and we’ve seen three.”
Narrating the video, he points out: “Anglers have a remarkable apparatus on their heads: a fishing pole, with a luminous lure at the tip, which they use to attract their prey.
“In the darkness of deep water, they flash the light to attract prey and draw them near the angler's mouth. When a fish or a squid swims up, it is quickly inhaled by the angler's huge mouth and trapped by its long, sharp teeth.”
This female specimen, measuring around 3.5inches in length, was spotted at a depth of 1,900 feet. Males do not have the same “fishing pole” attachment.
When he finds one, "the male bites into the body of the female, their tissues fuse. The male's body degenerates until it's a lump of tissue surrounding testicles," Robison told KSBW. The female will then carry the male around for the rest of her life, and collect more along the way.
He added: "The deep sea is filled with surprises and wonderful creatures. Humans have only just begun to explore this vast realm, and we can only imagine what discoveries are yet to be made."