Most notable for their creepy countenance—and that bioluminescent dangle that lures hypnotized prey to their doom—anglerfish also have a crazy level of sexual dimorphism.
While the females get all the ghastly looking bells and whistles, male anglerfish are tiny and bland, sometimes 60 times smaller than their lovers, with huge nostrils and big, hopeful eyes.
Yes, they may be an unlikely pair, but deep-sea anglerfish display one of the most romantic love stories—or craziest sex habits—of the animal world. It all depends on how you look at it.
It can be hard to find a mate in the deep, dark ocean. It’s pretty vast down there, and hard to see. So Monsieur Anglerfish uses his gigantic nose to sniff out his lover, and, once he finds her, opens wide and bites his sweetie’s behind (taking the term “clingy boyfriend” to the max).
Eventually, the male’s mouth tissue fuses to his mate and their circulatory systems unite. As long as she lives, he lives, spawning away whenever and wherever. Like that old couple at the end of The Notebook, they eventually die with each other’s last breaths.
The more romantic ladies of some anglerfish species remain one-man women. Others can have as many as eight lovers living off their blood, which takes tender to terrifying. Okay, they could be considered parasites, but we think it’s kind of sweet.
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Written by Roar.
Illustrated by Allison Harn. Allison is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator in Raleigh, N.C. In her free time you can find her messing around in her home studio, playing in the great outdoors, or snuggling with her kitten, Khitomer. To see more projects from Allison, please visit her work at: www.allisonharn.com & www.behance.net/ABHarn.