Composite image: the Netdevil (Linophryne sp.) development - larval individual (left) and adult (right)
One of the benefits that come from repeated research trips to the same locations for deep sea trawling is that as you perform more and more trawls, you begin to see different developmental stages of the same species. In this figure, I am comparing developmental stages of a fantastic anglerfish: a larval stage (left) and adult (right) Netdevil (Linophryne sp.). There are a few cool things about this fish: (1) that I am aware, this is the only group of fishes that evolved two entirely different bioluminescence systems. The "beard" that hangs off of the chin glows in the dark by way of "intrinsic bioluminescence" or light produced by the fish its self. The lure is "symbiotic bioluminescence" or light produced by a bacterial symbiote. Exceptionally rare to have both systems evolve in the same organism. If you have an example where this occurs in another group of fish, please let me know. (2) Males of this family are parasitic on the females in that a male that finds a female bites her and holds on. Ultimately, her skin grafts with his and her circulatory system connects with his. From that point on, she sustains him. He becomes a built in sperm factory. Trawled from the Gulf of Mexico between 1,200 and 1,500m depth during the DEEPEND project (www.deependconsortium.org). The diversity of life in the water columns of the world's oceans is outstanding. We need to do more to protect it from things like oil spills, commercial deep water fishing, and dumping of waste into our oceans. This species photographed during the DEEPEND project (www.deependconsortium.org).
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