Order LOPHIIFORMES


Common name: Anglerfishes
Summary:

The Lophiiformes, or anglerfishes, is a large and diverse group of marine predators found in shallow and deep sea environments.

Anglerfishes share the remarkable characteristic of having their first dorsal-fin spine (illicium) positioned on or near the snout tip and modified into luring structure to attract prey.

Anglerfishes also have pore-like gill openings behind the pectoral-fin base that help capture of prey and are used in jet-propulsive locomotion.

While most anglerfishes live on the bottom, the bizarre members of the mesopelagic and bathypelagic suborder Ceratioidei show extreme sexual dimorphism. Females have a bioluminescent fishing lure on top of the huge head, an enormous mouth filled with sharp depressible teeth and a huge stomach. The tiny males lack the luring apparatus, have huge nostrils and large pincer-like jaws, and are adapted to attaching to the much larger females.

Males in some ceratioid families become permanent sexual parasites on their female partners. Pietsch (2009) recently treated the 11 families and the 160 known ceratioid species in his wonderful monograph.

Anglerfishes were long thought to be related to the Batrachoidiformes (frogfishes). Recent molecular phylogenetic studies by Shedlock et al. (2009) and Miya et al. (2010) however, suggest that lophiiformes are related to tetraodontiforms and boarfishes of the family Caproidae.

Anglerfishes are rare in the fossil record, and the earliest anglerfish fossils are found in the Eocene.

Author: Dianne J. Bray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Anglerfishes, LOPHIIFORMES in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Apr 2017, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/order/25

Order References


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