Thursday, November 3, 2011

Week of the Abyss: Wolf-Trap Anglerfish

Say the words "deep-sea life" and the anglerfish is probably the one that will pop to most people's minds. Rightfully so; with head-lures, creepy jaws, and an almost nonexistent male that turns females into self-impregnating hermaphrodites, it makes sense that they would be the abyssal fish.

If you know nature, however, you know that she loves kicking things up to eleven. The phrase "There's always a bigger fish" mutates into "there's always a weirder fish" in regards to the deep-sea abyss. In this case, imagine if someone took an anglerfish and fused it with the Xenomorph from Alien. You would get something like this:

Yes, that is a real thing, not some monster somebody drew out of their nightmares. It's a wolftrap anglerfish, also called a "wonderfish" from the family name Thaumathichthyidae.  We're not sure in exactly what way this fish is wonderful aside from the mere fact that something that creepy exists. The "wolf trap" name comes from the jaws. Like other anglers, it lives in depths at which the sun does not reach.

Just...look at that thing. Its jaws are just plain nuts; if what we've seen is any indication, some wolftraps have the upper lip flipped up, exposing those nasty teeth to whatever happens to be above them. People say those jaws look like a wolf trap. Looking at them, we have to agree that any animal unfortunate enough to get caught by those teeth will be whimpering.


Wolftraps also have better hooks than the average anglerfish. Instead of simply being a light lure above nasty jaws, these things have sophisticated fishing rods above even nastier jaws. Species can be classified based on how complex their fishing rods are, complete with glowing baits. Some rods even have little hooks on them, just like ours.

Oh, and all weirdness that applies to anglerfishes applies to these girls, obviously. The only wolftraps ever caught have been hermaphroditic/parasitized females. It's safe to assume that all the nightmare fuel that comes with 'normal' anglerfishes applies to wolftraps as well. Sleep tight.

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