Though oceans are filled with bizarre creatures with strange, sometimes monstrous survival tactics, it’s hard to imagine anything quite as impressive and batshit crazy as the female anglerfish, a creature known both for its horrifying face and enviable feminine whiles.
Let’s start with the horrifying face:
Inhabiting the deep seas, Ceratiidae female Anglers have long spines protruding from their heads like built-in fishing rods. As you can see in these images, the spine culminates at an irregular, fleshy growth, which Anglers can wiggle around to simulate their prey’s favorite snacks. When a prey touches the growth, it triggers the anglerfish’s huge jaw, its best, most horrifying feature, which is lined on both sides with sharp, inward facing teeth, and can stretch to ingest prey up to twice their size.
But the female Anglerfish’s crazy-capable face doesn’t hold a candle to its mating habits, which basically involve smelling mighty fine and waiting for a relatively miniscule, helpless male Anglerfish to latch on.
Here’s how that goes:
Male ceratioids are tiny relative to the females, with little to offer other than refined olfactory glands which it uses almost exclusively to detect pheromones of female Anglerfish.
When a male finds a female he bites her, releasing enzymes that digest both his mouth and her skin—fusing them together for the rest of his life. As soon as the male attaches, his life is essentially over: his brain, heart, eyes and body start to atrophy until nothing is left but a pair of gonads attached to the female. By this time, the couple’s circulatory systems have united, the male becoming entirely dependent on the female for food, the female now equipped with sperm to use when she’s ready.
Is that not insanely badass, if not very unfortunate for the male Anglerfish? And like that’s not enough heartbreak for the little guy, the female Anglerfish is a crazy polygamist, capable of collecting multiple sets of gonads to use for mating.
So yeah, don’t mess with the female Anglerfish. She may not be great to look at but she absolutely destroys in the sack.