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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Hairy Angler Caulophryne jordani

Anglerfish include some of the most bizarrely shaped fish in the ocean, and the hairy angler certainly fits into this category.

It has a huge mouth, tiny eyes, and large dorsal and anal fins with very long projecting fin rays. It is also covered in sensory hairs, giving it a disheveled appearance. Like most anglerfish, the hairy angler has a movable lure on top of the head that is formed from the first spine of the dorsal fin.

The biology of the hairy angler is poorly known as only a few specimens have ever been captured. However, in other deep-sea anglerfish, this lure is used to attract prey within reach. The fish then opens its mouth and creates a sudden, strong inward suction current.

The prey is engulfed within a fraction of a second. Food is scarce in the deep sea and anglerfish living here usually have extra-large mouths and expandable stomachs that allow them to swallow prey as big or bigger than themselves.

The hairy angler belongs to the family Caulophrynidae, also known as fanfins. The males of fish in this family are tiny and do not have lures. They live as parasites on the females when they are adults. Hairy anglers are often difficult to identify because so few are caught and they are often damaged from contact with nets and from changes in pressure as they are brought to the surface.

Hairy Anglerzoom image
  • Order Lophiiformes
  • Length Females up to 8 in (20 cm); males not recorded, but tiny
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 330–5,000 ft (100–1,500 m)
  • Distribution Deep water worldwide
Hairy Angler habitat mapzoom image