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October 4, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Anglerfish

Fish have been underrepresented so far in ‘Animal of the Week’, despite there being 31,500 species to choose from—but perhaps that’s the problem. Having decided that the penultimate ‘Animal’ was to be a cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrate covered in scales, I was faced with the task of choosing a particular kind. The handfish, which ‘walks’ along the seafloor on its ‘hands’? The blobfish, dubbed the most miserable-looking fish in the world, due to the morose ‘expression’ on its ill-formed ‘face’? In the end, I chose the anglerfish: the buck-toothed, grotesque poster girl for life in the deep sea. If you’re as avid a fan of nature documentaries as I am, you’ll be familiar with the anglerfish’s namesake: the fleshy growth sprouting from its head, which lures its prey close enough for it to devour. A nice example of how evolution works, but old news—what’s more interesting about the anglerfish is its method of reproduction. The male is a great deal smaller than the female, so in order to exchange genetic material, he latches on to her with his teeth and fuses with her body, down to the blood-vessel level. First, he loses his digestive organs, then his brain, heart, and eyes, until he is nothing but a pair of testicles that release sperm into her bloodstream. Clearly, the female anglerfish wears the pants—and, hem, her boyfriend’s gonads—in this relationship.

Dolphins designed the Large Hadron Collider.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

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