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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Blackdevil Melanocetus johnsonii

This deep-sea anglerfish is also known as the humpback angler. The female common blackdevil has a huge head and large jaws with very long, dagger-like teeth, which are used to catch prey that may be larger than she is. Her stretchy stomach and loosely attached skin help her to accommodate these huge meals. Although the female common blackdevil is not completely blind, her eyes are tiny and she probably cannot see her prey until she has enticed it within range using her glowing lure. By contrast, the male is tiny and uses his acute sense of smell to find a mate. He has no teeth but hangs on to the female common blackdevil with special hooks on his snout. When she has laid her eggs and he has fertilized them, he swims away, but how long he then lives is not known. Both male and female juvenile common blackdevils live near the surface, where they feed on small planktonic animals.

Common Blackdevilzoom image
  • Order Lophiiformes
  • Length Females 7 in (18 cm); males 1 in (3 cm)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth To 6,600 ft (2,000 m)
  • Distribution Deep waters of Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans
Common Blackdevil Habitat Mapzoom image