UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What do angler fish eat?
Question Date: 2015-07-02
Answer 1:

Angler fish are not picky. There is very little life at the bottom of the ocean where they live. If something comes close enough, they will eat it. Anything that is swimming around deep enough could be eaten, but predators looking for prey are the most likely to check out the anglerfish’s lure. This may include other fish. The anglerfish has huge jaws, so she can eat fish larger than she is. There are also other animals that may end up as anglerfish prey. For example, a squid might also fall for the anglerfish’s trick and become a meal.

Why do you think there is so little life at the bottom of the ocean?

If questions like this interest you, you might want to study fish ecology.

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Angler fish are carnivorous and not particularly peaky eaters. They eat crustaceans, shrimp other fish and snails. Females have a part of their spine that comes over their mouths that have bait at the ends to catch their prey. They can swallow prey up to twice their size because their mouths are so big and their bodies are so flexible. Their teeth make it so that their prey cannot escape their mouths.

The males do not have the same features of females for eating because when they reach adulthood, their digestive system no longer functions. They latch on to the females with their teeth Over time, they fuse with the female by connecting skin, bloodstream and organs together. So, the nutrition of the male comes from whatever the female eats.

Answer 3:

Anglerfish is a name for many species of salt-water fishes that live off the coast of Europe and range in length from three inches (7.5 cm) to four feet (120 cm). All of them are carnivorous, meaning they eat other fish and sea animals, but what species they eat depends on where the anglerfish live and their size. Female anglerfish have a spiny fin that grows from the top of their head, which looks like a fishing rod. The end of the spine looks a little like a worm that other animals might like to eat. When those animals come to eat the “worm”, the anglerfish eats them instead. By luring their food to them, anglerfish can spend less energy looking for food.

This allows some species of anglers to live in places where food is scarce, like up to depths of 3,300 ft (1 km). There is very little light to see by in the deep ocean and little plant-like plankton to eat. Many fish that live there have sacs filled with bacteria that produce light (via bioluminescence) that they use to see in the dark. Some anglers have one of these sacs at the end of their spine. Other predators swim close, expecting to find a small fish looking for plankton, but find the big anglerfish instead! Poor fish, squid, or shrimp!

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use