The reproduction methods of the deep sea angler fish are some of the strangest methods known to man. The male anglerfish is almost like a parasite that is used by the female for reproduction. The process of mating is a unique one to anglerfishes and is rarely found in nature.

When a male anglerfish reaches maturity it spends its whole adult life trying to find a female to mate with. It has well developed olfactory organs that help it pick up pheromones produced by the female. Males are very small in size compared to females and as a result often are unable to eat, making their quest for a mate that much more important.

Female anglerfish with male attached
Source: Jolle Jolles. The deepsea anglerfish and its bizarre reproduction.

Smaller males attach to females by biting them and fusing their mouths to the body of the female. The blood systems of the male and female become connected allowing him to remain attached indefinitely. The male’s body degenerates overtime until he is completely dependent on the female and is used for nothing but his sperm. It is not uncommon to see multiple males attached to one female and at most one a female can carry six males attached to her body. (Caruso et al., 2007)

Male angler fish
Source: jolle Jolles. The deepsea anglerfish and its bizarre reproduction.

Female anglerfishes can produce millions of eggs in a single spawning which are released into the ocean, while the eggs are being released the sperm is released from the male and external fertilization takes place. The fertilized eggs then float to the top where the fry feed on plankton until they mature and return to deeper depths. If you woulld like to learn more about the deep sea anglerfish and how it mates then check out a another great website by clicking here!