June 26, 2009

Anglerfish - Cutthroat Eel - Japanese Spider Crab - Tailspot Lantern Sharks - Chimaera

Anglerfish are the members of the order Lophiiformes. They are bony fish named for their characteristic mode of predation, wherein a fleshy growth from the fish's head (the esca or illicium) acts as a lure; this is considered analogous to angling. Some anglerfish are pelagic (live in the open water), others are benthic (bottom-dwelling). Some live in the deep sea (e.g. Ceratiidae) and others on the continental shelf (e.g. the frogfishes Antennariidae and the monkfish/goosefish Lophiidae). They occur worldwide. Pelagic forms are most laterally (sideways) compressed whereas the benthic forms are often extremely dorsoventrally compressed (depressed) often with large upward pointing mouths. Some species of anglerfish have even developed pectoral fins which act like legs, allowing them to walk along the ocean floor. Given the deep waters in which they live and their relative rarity, this particular adaptation is rarely seen in action, but it is quite remarkable when caught by scientists in submersible vehicles used for the study of the deep sea environment.

The Japanese spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi, is the largest known arthropod; fully grown it can reach a leg span of almost 4 m (13 ft), a body size of up to 37 cm (15 inches) and a weight of up to 20 kg (44 lb). The crab's natural habitat is on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean (some 300 to 400 m deep) around Japan, where it feeds on dead animals and shellfish. It is believed to have a life expectancy of up to 100 years. Currently, this is the only living species of the genus Macrocheira, but there have been two reports of other fossil specimens. M. kaempferi is named in honor of Engelbert Kaempfer, the Japan traveler and naturalist from Lemgo, Germany.

Cutthroat eels are a family, Synaphobranchidae, of eels, the only member of the suborder Synaphobranchoidei. They are found worldwide in temperate and tropical seas. Cutthroat eels range from 23 centimeters (9.1 in) to 160 centimeters (63 in) in length. They are bottom-dwelling fish, found in deep waters down to about 3,700 meters (12,000 ft).[1] They are distinguished by the presence of telescopic eyes in the larvae.

The tailspot lanternshark, Etmopterus caudistigmus, is a shark of the family Dalatiidae found around New Caledonia, at depths of between 640 and 800 m. Its length is up to 31 cm.

Chimaeras are cartilaginous fish in the order Chimaeriformes. They are related to the sharks and rays, and are sometimes called ghost sharks, ratfish (not to be confused with the rattails), or rabbitfishes. Chimaeras live in temperate ocean floors down to 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) depth. They have elongated, soft bodies, with a bulky head and a single gill-opening. They grow up to 150 centimeters (4.9 ft) in adult body length, although some also have a lengthy tail. In many species, the snout is modified into an elongated sensory organ.

Wiki Links: Anglerfish, Cutthroat Eel, Japanese Spider Crab, Tailspot Lanternshark, Chimaera

Other Links: Anglerfish


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