Black Sea Devil washes up from depths of Mooloolaba Beach

Rare Angler Fish washes up at Mooloolaba
Rare Angler Fish washes up at Mooloolaba Contributed

A RARE fish species with an odd mating habit and a light dangling from an antenna on its head to attract prey has washed up from the depths at Mooloolaba Beach.

Thirteen-year-old Mia Cornwall discovered the Angler Fish, also known as a Black Sea Devil or a Melanocetus, during a morning walk.

Mia's grandfather Peter Beinssen, who shares her love of all things in nature, arranged for the specimen to be dropped at SeaLife from where it is destined for the Queensland Museum.

Mr Beinssen said the Angler Fish normally lives at depths of around 1600m.

DEEP SECRETS: The Angler Fish which was found at Mooloolaba.
DEEP SECRETS: The Angler Fish which was found at Mooloolaba. Contributed

He said the deep sea creature attracts prey with its light then sucks it into its cavernous mouth, which has mean-looking, inward-sloping teeth to stop its prey from escaping.

"This light-assisted way of feeding is rare but not unique," Mr Beinssen said.

"However its reproduction process is thought to be unique. The male can't survive unless it finds a female to attach itself to. It bites on and then merges to become an appendage on the female host, like a gonad, with the sole function of pumping out sperm."

Fisheries researcher and university lecturer Geoff Dews said the find may have been by-catch of a prawn trawler working at depth off the coast.

Topics:  outdoor-living

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