Chaunacops colaratus

January 25, 2013

Bathychaunax_coloratusFirst described from a dead specimen in 1899, Chaunacops colaratus was not seen alive in its natural habitat until August 2002, when researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarian Research Institute caught it on video…

A member of the angler fish family, the fish attracts prey using a mop-like lure (called an ‘esca’) dangling from its head. When not in use, this bodily ‘fishing rod’ is stashed in a special cavity between its eyes. Researchers have also seen Chaunacops ‘walking’ across the seafloor, in much the same way as its shallow-water relatives, the frogfish.

C. coloratus can live as much as 3,300m below the ocean surface – so it’s hardly surprising no one saw one alive until a crew of researchers with a remotely operated vehicle stumbled across it while exploring the Davidson Seamount, an extinct volcano off the coast of California. The fish is usually a red/rose colour, with loose skin covered in small, spiney scales. Juveniles are usually blue in colour.

Find out more here, or watch this MBARI video…










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