New Species of Deep-sea Anglerfish Discovered in Gulf of Mexico

Posted on August 5, 2015

Lasiognathus Regan anglerfish

Researchers have discovered a new species of deep-sea anglerfish. The species was discovered in deep waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico by researchers from Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. The species was found at a depth of 1,000 to 1,500 meters.

Tracey Sutton, Ph.D. from NSU and Theodore Pietsch, Ph.D. from the University of Washington teamed up to formally describe the new anglerfish. Dr. Sutton says, "As a researcher, the one thing I know is that there's so much more we can learn about our oceans. Every time we go out on a deep-sea research excursion there's a good chance we'll see something we've never seen before - the life at these depths is really amazing."

The new anglerfish has been named Lasiognathus Regan. The three female specimens observed ranged in length from 30 mm to 95 mm. At the depth this anglerfish lives there is no sunlight and the pressure is immense at over one ton per square inch. Like other anglerfish the new species has a fishing pole like appendage on the top of its head. The anglerfish uses the appendage to lure in fish so it can consume them.

Dr. Sutton also says, "Finding this new species reinforces the notion that our inventory of life in the vast ocean interior is far from complete. Every research trip is an adventure and another opportunity to learn about our planet and the varied creatures who call it home."

A research species on the new anglerfish was published here in the journal, Copeia.

Photo: Theodore Pietsch, Ph.D. University of Washington