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ESF Top 10 New Species Links

Anglerfish: Angling for Ugliest

ESF Top 10 New Species of 2016

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    Lasiognathus dinema: female in the northern Gulf of Mexico
    Photo credit: Theodore W. Pietsch, University of Washington

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    Lasiognathus dinema: female in the northern Gulf of Mexico
    Photo credit: Theodore W. Pietsch, University of Washington

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    Lasiognathus dinema: female in the northern Gulf of Mexico
    Photo credit: Theodore W. Pietsch, University of Washington

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    Lasiognathus dinema: female in the northern Gulf of Mexico
    Photo credit: Theodore W. Pietsch, University of Washington

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About the Anglerfish

Name: Lasiognathus dinema

Location: Gulf of Mexico

How it made the Top 10: If this fish from the Gulf of Mexico, barely 50 mm (about two inches) long, were angling for ugliest among the Top 10 New Species, it might succeed. It was discovered during a Natural Resource Damage Assessment conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Different species of anglerfish can be distinguished visually only by details of the unusual structure called the esca that is projected over their heads like ironically a fishing pole. This organ is located at the tip of a highly modified, elongated dorsal ray. Rays are the spines that add support to the dorsal fin. The esca in some anglerfish is home to symbiotic bacteria that are bioluminescent, producing light that is a rare commodity in the depths of the ocean and is presumed to attract prey. Either way, these are among the most unusual features of any fish in form and function.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Lophiiformes

Family: Oneirodidae

Size: 15 to 47 mm (between half an inch and 2 inches)

Etymology: Name derived from the Greek di, "two," and nema, "thread," referring to two thread-like prolongations arising from base of escal hooks.

Type locality: Northern Gulf of Mexico, 800-1200 m depth

Holotype: University of Washington

More information: Theodore W. Pietsch and Tracey T. Sutton. 2015. A new species of the ceratioid anglerfish genus Lasiognathus Regan (Lophiiformes: Oneirodidae) from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Copeia 103: 429-432

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