General, Research, Technology

How, and most importantly why: two terrible fish can become one

Lucky for us people - to find ourselves a secondhalf, you just need to be brave, go out or use a dating app. Now imagine how hard it is for the fish that live in the depths of the seas and oceans. There is practically no sunlight penetrating there, so it takes a long time for deep-sea creatures to find a suitable partner. In such conditions, males who have found a female for themselves must do anything to lose her. The European anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius), some of the world's most feared fish, have come up with a clever way of building lasting relationships. They simply attach themselves to the organisms of females and become parasites, receiving nutrients and love. Observing this, scientists admire and ask the question - why does the immunity of females not reject the hooked male?

Monkfish is one of the most unusual and mysterious fish in the world

Fish parasites

On the unusual interaction of European anglerswas reported in the scientific journal ScienceAlert. These fish are also known as "monkfish" because they have an unpleasant appearance with a toothy mouth and glowing baits on their bodies. The body size of anglers depends on their species and sex - females are much larger than males. These creatures are very difficult to spot because they have a well-developed disguise. Not only are they dyed in a "dirty" color by themselves, but also on both sides they have pieces of skin hanging down. They wriggle under the influence of water and look like parts of underwater plants.

Despite its scary appearance, the monkfish is popular in Italian and French cuisine.

Based on this, it is not surprising that tinyit can be so difficult for males to find females. However, if this meeting takes place, the male, without much thought, digs into the partner's belly with his sharp teeth. As soon as the female notices this, she releases substances that dissolve her skin and allow the male to merge with her into a single whole. The tissues mix, the circulatory system becomes common to the two organisms, and over time, the male begins to lose some organs such as eyes and fins. He does not need internal organs, so over time they also disappear.

The arrow shows the male clinging to the female

This whole process is amazing and into existencethis kind of interaction between males and females is hard to believe. Some scientists guessed about the unusual relationship of anglers already in the first half of the 20th century, but some people were sure that this was a fiction. Over time, doubts disappeared, because this process was filmed. In it, you can see how a tiny fish stuck to the belly of a large female - this is the male. In the scientific community, they are rightly called "sexual parasites."

Female of the species Photocorynus spiniceps with a male parasite on her back

Thus, it turns out that anglers -one of a kind creatures. If humans did not have warning molecules and cells to destroy foreign cells, we would simply die out. But deep-sea fish somehow manage to survive. Scientists are not yet exactly clear how they manage to avoid contracting all kinds of infections. Perhaps, at great depths without sunlight, they simply do not exist. But so far these are only guesses.

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On the topic of deep-sea fish on our website there ismany articles. For example, I recently wrote that the inhabitants of the depths of the seas and oceans are so black that they cannot be seen even with a lantern. The explanation for this phenomenon can be found in this material. Happy viewing!