THE ANGLERFISH LURE

Anglerfish lureThe anglerfish lure is actually a highly-modfied first dorsal fin spine.  It is conposed of the stalk or illicium at the end of which is the lure itself, or esca.     Bioluminescence in this organ is produced by specialized bacteria that inhabit a complex labyrinth of tissue within the esca.  These bacteria enter through a small pore near the back of the lure.  It is not precisely known how anglerfish stimulate the bacteria to glow, though it is believed to be caused by hormones and other chemicals excreted by the fish.  Oddly enough, bacteria cultured from the esca will not glow on their own, so the luminescence must be caused by a chemical interaction between fish and single-celled symbiote.

Anglerfish lures exhibit a huge variety of forms.  Below is but a small sampling of this diversity.

Anglerfish Lures Anglerfish Lures 2

 

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