Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00

Species of the Month, May 2014: Sladenia Shaefersi, or the Deep Sea Anglerfish

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This month’s species is a highlight from one of the more uncommon discoveries aboard the E/V Nautilus. Goosefish, which are sometimes referred to as monkfish, or Lophius americanus, are commonly found in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean, with similar species occurring all over the world. However, this particular dive yielded an encounter with a far more elusive and largely unobserved species of goosefish.

Sladenia shaefersi, sometimes referred to as Schaefer's Anglerfish or the deep-water goosefish, is also a member of the angler family, and is recognizable by its bulbous brown body and the intricate patterning covering its back. In the featured video, you will be able to see how the patterning actually shimmers in the ROV lights, bearing an uncanny resemblance to mother of pearl.

The deep-sea goosefish can grow up to 28 inches, and is capable of inhabiting depths up to 1200 meters. Although not visible in this particular segment, Schaefer’s Anglerfish earns its namesake with a ‘beard’ of filliform illicia protruding from its jaw. To date we know very little about the nature of Schaefer's Anglerfish, as less than ten have ever been captured, making this an incredibly rare moment in E/V Nautilus History.

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