Angler (Lophius piscatorius)


Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Family:    Lophiidae
Size:    Length: Up to 6.6 feet (2 m) 
Weight: Up to 128 pounds (58 kg)  
Diet: Fish
Distribution: Coastal waters of Europe and northwest Africa
Young:  Up to 1,000,000 eggs at a time
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Fry
Lifespan: Females up to 12 years, males up to 9 years



·         These fish are also known as monkfish or goosefish.

·         Anglers are considered one of the ugliest types of fish in the sea. 

·         Angler females can reach two metres in length, whereas angler males do not grow beyond one metre.



Anglers blend in with the area of the sea bottom in which they lie, whether it be dark or light. They have a broad, depressed head, a large mouth and bright blue eyes. Their teeth are long and sharp and their underbelly is white. The tail is the part of the angler which is eaten by humans, because it has a similar consistency and flavour to lobster and is sometimes called the “poor man’s lobster.”



Anglers are bottom dwellers, resting on the bottom of the sea, half covered by sediment. 


Feeding Habits

They are poor swimmers and rely on tricking their prey by waving an appendage that resembles a fishing rod or a lure attached above the mouth. Because anglers blend in with their environments, they go unnoticed by their prey. Fish are attracted by the wriggling lure, and when they approach, the angler opens its huge mouth, causing water and the victim to flood in. They eat a wide variety of fish, including dogfish, skate, cod, haddock, whiting, sprats and sandeels. Anglers also eat prey that are almost as big as themselves. 



When the female wants to mate, she sends a hormone to the male to let him know it is time to release sperm for her eggs. In the spring, the female swims to the surface to lay a huge sheet of jelly containing as many as one million eggs. She then returns to her place on the ocean bottom, while the sheet drifts until the eggs hatch. The young anglers swim near the surface until they reach two or three inches (5 to 7.6 cm) in length, when they drift down to the bottom to live. They reach maturity between three to four years of age. 



Male anglers live as parasites on the females, attaching themselves onto her back by biting her and fusing with her bloodstream, which serves to nourish them. Males have no lures, so they become completely dependent on the female for all their needs, not only for nourishment, but protection as well. One female may have more than one male attached to her back. After awhile, males lose their eyes and fins. Their skin becomes spiny and the area around their jaws fuses with the female’s skin, leaving a small hole on each side of the mouth through which water is drawn for breathing. 



Anglers are not considered a conservation concern. 



Animal Behaviour: An Evolutionary Approach. Seventh edition. John Alcock, 2000

Angler Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US