Humpback anglerfish

Humpback anglerfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Family: Melanocetidae
Genus: Melanocetus
Species: M. johnsonii
Binomial name
Melanocetus johnsonii
Günther, 1864

Melanocetus johnsonii is a species of fish in the family Melanocetidae, the black seadevils. It is known commonly as the humpback anglerfish, humpback blackdevil,[1] and Johnson's anglerfish.[2] It is a deepwater fish living at depths of up to 4500 meters, but generally remaining above 1500 meters. It is native to all the oceans of the world, where it can be found in tropical and many temperate regions. [3] It is even known from the Ross Sea in Antarctica.[4] First discovered by and named after James Yate Johnson.


As in many anglerfishes, the female is much larger than the male. Females can reach 18 centimeters long, while males are less than 3 centimeters.[3] This fish has a head that is deeper than long, split vertically by the mouth. The eyes are tiny. Like other anglerfishes, it has an illicium, the "fishing lure".[5] Live specimens are black in color.[2]

Unlike the males of other anglerfish species, the tiny male of this species does not attach to the female permanently as a parasite; its attachment is temporary and after releasing sperm, the male detaches to seek another mate.[6]

This fish can consume relatively large prey items and fill its stomach to massive capacity. One specimen contained three fish each over 10 centimeters long.[5]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Humpback anglerfish.
  1. Arnold, R. 2015. Melanocetus johnsonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 18 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 Humpback Blackdevil, Melanocetus johnsonii Gunther, 1864. Australian Museum.
  3. 1 2 Froese, R. and D. Pauly, Editors. Melanocetus johnsonii. FishBase. 2015.
  4. Orlov, A. M., et al. (2015). First record of humpback anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii) (Melanocetidae) in Antarctic waters. Polar Research, 34.
  5. 1 2 Anderson, M. E. and R. W. Leslie. (2001). Review of the deep-sea anglerfishes (Lophiiformes: Ceratioidei) of southern Africa. Ichthyological Bulletin 70 1-32.
  6. Humpback anglerfish. Ocean Animal Encyclopedia. Oceana.

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