The first spine of the dorsal (DOOR-suhl) fin of anglerfishes serves as a fishing, or angling, rod and lure for attracting prey, animals hunted and caught for food. The dorsal fin is the one along the midline of the back. The fishes use muscles at the base of the rod to move it rapidly, thrashing the lure above or in front of the anglerfish's mouth. In some anglerfishes the lure may be a simple bulb, but in others it is quite elaborate. In many deep-sea anglerfishes, the lure glows. In forms that live in sunlit regions, the lure may resemble a shrimp or even a fish. The bases of the pectoral (PECK-ter-uhl) fins of anglerfishes are so long that the fins appear to be at the end of long, jointed arms. The pectoral fins are the front pair and correspond to the front legs of four-footed animals. The color and size of anglerfishes vary greatly. Many bottom-dwelling anglerfishes have camouflage coloring, but the midwater forms are usually very dark brown or black. The length ranges from a few inches (centimeters) to several feet (about 2 meters).
Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesAnglerfishes: Lophiiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Sargassumfish (histrio Histrio): Species Accounts, Monkfish (lophius Americanus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, ANGLERFISHES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION S