Anglerfishes Lophiiformes

Class: Actinopterygii Order: Lophiiformes Number of families: 18 families


The first spine of the dorsal (DOOR-suhl) fin of anglerfishes serves as a fishing, or angling, rod and lure for attracting prey, animals hunted and caught for food. The dorsal fin is the one along the midline of the back. The fishes use muscles at the base of the rod to move it rapidly, thrashing the lure above or in front of the anglerfish's mouth. In some anglerfishes the lure may be a simple bulb, but in others it is quite elaborate. In many deep-sea anglerfishes, the lure glows. In forms that live in sunlit regions, the lure may resemble a shrimp or even a fish. The bases of the pectoral (PECK-ter-uhl) fins of anglerfishes are so long that the fins appear to be at the end of long, jointed arms. The pectoral fins are the front pair and correspond to the front legs of four-footed animals. The color and size of anglerfishes vary greatly. Many bottom-dwelling anglerfishes have camouflage coloring, but the midwater forms are usually very dark brown or black. The length ranges from a few inches (centimeters) to several feet (about 2 meters).


Anglerfishes live all over the world.

phylum class subclass • order monotypic order suborder family


Most anglerfishes live in the deep ocean. Some live in open water in middle depths. Others are bottom dwellers. A few anglerfishes enter shallows, and many live in coral reefs.


In the old days in England the word angle meant "fish hook." Angling is the sport of catching fish with a hook, as opposed to a net or one's hands. Anglers are people who like this sport.

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