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First Footage of the Elusive Anglerfish Mating is Bizarrely Fascinating

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The ocean is vast, and for the most part, a relative mystery. In an ocean survey conducted in the early 2000s, researchers found 95 percent of the ocean is still unexplored. More surprisingly, 99 percent of the ocean floor is considered to be undiscovered and is simply referred to as the “unknown.” For these reasons, this is only the third time in recorded history that an elusive aquatic creature was captured on film mating.

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The deep-sea Anglerfish was recorded mating thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean. The infamous Anglerfish calls the murky depths home, so little is known about it.¬†Ironically, the fish was portrayed in a villainous manner in Disney’s “Finding Nemo”.

According to National Geographic, the Anglerfish, which is best known for the illuminating light connected to its head to lure in prey called the “esca,” typically lives in depths that exceed 2,600 feet below the ocean’s surface.

In the rare video, which was captured by the Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation, a female Anglerfish is seen floating with what resembles spider webs around it. These extended looking cat whiskers are part the creature’s mating ritual and are commonly referred to as a “sexual parasite.”

The terminology originated from the mating activity in which the male, who is much smaller than the female, attaches to the body of the female. The male receives nutrients while the female receives the sperm to reproduce.

“This is a unique and never-before-seen thing,” Ted Pietsch, a University of Washington professor said. “It’s so wonderful to have a clear window on something only imagined before this.”

One of the predominant reasons why these creatures are never studies is due to the rapid pressure change they would endure if they were brought to the surface. Scientists only discovered this bizarre mating method when a dead male and female were found attached to one another when they were brought to the surface.

Check out the video below of the two elusive fish mating.