The Tasselled Anglerfish Is Devious in More Ways Than One


Some animals are masters of camouflage. Others are masters of trickery. But, as you’ll see in the video above from The Nature of Science, the tasselled anglerfish Rhycherus gloveri does both with style.

The tasselled angler is not a big fish, nor is it a good swimmer, but it doesn’t have to be either of those things. Tasselled anglers live off the southern coast of Australia in coral reefs, although you’d be very hard-pressed to find one. These fish are dressed so convincingly like piles of frilly seaweed that even their eyeballs are fringed and strategically colored. Only one part of the tasselled angler is noticeable: the bright, worm-shaped lure it wiggles to attract fish.

It’s a rare treat to see this angler at all, let alone watch its lightning-fast pounce. To capture this weird and magnificent fish, aquatic scientist Sheree Marris brought a high-speed, high-definition camera on a dive. It’s an unusual underwater nature film that includes on-the-spot narration, which was made possible by a special mask that let Marris talk underwater.

The video is part of the Nature of Science channel from James Cook University, which aims to share engaging, high-definition footage of “time-lapse and high-speed footage of animals fighting, feeding, and fornicating.” We got to see feeding in this one; to witness the fighting and fornicating, you’ll have to subscribe.

Header image from YouTube // The Nature of Science