This Scary-Looking Fish Has a Parasitic ‘Husband’ Attached to Her for Life

By Laura Geggel

In the deep North Atlantic, a small but ghastly-looking female anglerfish floats in the inky-black waters, eerily lit by her wispy, glowing fishing lure and the specks of light illuminating her long fin rays.

Her ghostly glow reveals she isn’t alone. Attached to her underside, her tiny “husband” — a parasitic mate that had fused himself to her belly — wafts in the water.

German researchers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen filmed this extraordinary scene with the Lula 1000, a deep-sea submersible diving off the coast of São Jorge Island in the Azores, about 850 miles (1,360 kilometers) west of Portugal.

Until now, researchers had never seen this species of anglerfish (Caulophryne jordani) alive. But the 25-minute-long video, taken at about 2,600 feet (800 meters) underwater, changes that.

“This is a unique and never-before-seen thing,” Ted Pietsch, a professor emeritus of aquatic and fishery sciences and curator emeritus of fishes at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

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