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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Regan's Angler Haplophryne mollis

This unusual deep-sea anglerfish has unpigmented skin. The female of the species has an almost round body when mature, numerous very small teeth, spines above the eyes and behind the mouth, and a minimal fishing lure that consists of just a small flap on the snout. Like many other deep-sea anglerfish, the males of this species remain very small all their lives and their sole aim in life is to track down a female using their excellent sense of smell and latch onto her using special hooks. Finding a mate in the depths of the ocean is difficult and by keeping the male attached, the female is assured that her eggs will be fertilized. The males eventually turn into parasites, biting into the female’s skin. In time, their blood supplies fuse and the male then becomes nourished by the female. Up to three males have been found on a single female.

Regan’s Angler habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Lophiiformes
  • Length Females 3 in (8 cm); males in (2 cm)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 650–6,600 ft (200–2,000 m)
  • Distribution Tropical and subtropical deep waters worldwide