This is what happens when you let the angry feminists evolve

You get Angler Fish. See men, you should be happy we let you be more than a walking bag of sperm. Well, at least we let you think you are.

Seriously though, nature is fucking bizarre. And therefore awesome. Odd natural history tidbits like this is what makes me love being a biologist.


  1. Christina says

    “She”, not “he”. The angler fish is proof that God’s a woman. ;-)

  2. Wes says

    Since my god is science, I don’t need to wonder at all. It seems like a decent system, really. The mammalian system isn’t necessarily the only good reproductive system out there!Also, this is probably one of the coolest things I’ve read in a while.

  3. says

    Ha! I think I have met some women like that. :D(Luckily, even though I can’t cook, I am better at feeding myself than the angler fish.)

  4. says

    The two stories of reproduction that always made everyone cringe in the classes I’ve had or have taught are the Cimicidae and Enicocephalidae. In Cimicidae, there is a traumatic insemination. The male’s genitalia acts sort of like a knife, and the female is inseminated by piercing the abdominal wall. In Enicocephalidae, the male genitalia have no openings. In order to inseminate the female the male has to put it in and literally break it off. Needless to say, males only mate once.The Virgin Birth

  5. says

    Angler fish scare the shit out of me. >_<They must be proof there is no god. No one would ever create something so ugly.

  6. skepticalmedia says

    Once again, fact is stranger than fiction. I won’t be biting my wife anytime soon, I can assure you.

  7. says

    Am I odd for finding this odd factoid slightly hilarious? Because I do. It just amuses me that the males have no purpose in life except to merge with the females and provide sperm. Raw deal for the males though. ~Lia

  8. says

    The other neat thing to note is that it took a while to realize that those little things attached to the females were actually male angler fish and not parasites of some other species.

  9. Introbulus says

    …I always suspected there were women out there with more balls than me, but…damn. D: Heh…poor male Anglerfish. You are zero percent intimidating.

  10. says

    That was hilarious AND educational, I had to pass that on to friends. I have to say, if I had to reincarnate, that one might answer the question “Why should I?”

  11. the_Siliconopolitan says

    As I sorta said on The Thread: Now, will you stop making fun of TruckNuts™?

  12. Christina says

    On a more serious note, just how did that evolve? How did the males evolve the ability to fuse with the females?

  13. Christina says

    I can see how the size discrepancy would evolve, and even how they would develop a pseudo-parasitical relationship. (Maybe proto-angler fish males sustained themselves by eating the female’s scales?) But I can’t see how the intermediate stages would look in that fusing behavior.(Just to clarify: No, I am not arguing any kind of creationism/ID. I’m sure it did evolve naturally, I’m just curious as to if there’s any idea of the details)

  14. Christina says

    I presume it started with the observation that there were no male anglerfish, only females, and that the “parasites” were always male.

  15. Olifantje says

    Yes, that very interesting indeed.Some IDiots are actually using the reproduction system of angler fish to argue against evolution.These are the steps that I can think of (partly aided by what i found on the internets) *Living in deep water had a evolutionary advantage for the ancestors of the angler fish. The pre-Angler fish that had a smaller swim bladder were able to survive at greater depths (Angler fish don’t have swim bladders. They would be crushed if they did at the depths where they live).At greater depths the chance of encountering a male is rare, so the males that literally were able to stick to a female before they sunk to great depths increased chances of reproduction.*Such a situation is a lot easier when the male is smaller than the female (every women who has ever tried hunting for food while some guy of about the same size is attached to her by means of jaw lock instead of wedlock knows this).*Pairs that had a heightened ability to melt together, were more successful in staying together and thus increased possibility of offspring.I’m a simple psychologist, so I hope that someone who is more educated on evolution than I am can add some thoughts on this (and/or point out flaws or gaps!)

  16. says

    From an evolutionary standpoint–males are much closer to being parasites than not–I mean–females have to invest a lot of energy in the eggs-but males can go around making billions of sperm and impregnating all kinds of different eggs.This happens in numerous species–such as ducks, irresponsible hairless apes, and any other place where the males don’t stick around and contribute (at least after mating) to the raising of the young.Thus–even though I’m a male–I find the angler fish situation quite acceptable. It just makes the actual role of males that much more clear–and it cuts out the middleman…. haha… I mean–it could have been the case that more species decided to go down the path of the Bdelloid rotifers–who have just decided to do away with sex and reproduce asexually for the past 20-30 million years or so–and the females there are doing just fine.

  17. says

    adding to what Olifantje said below–fusing type chemical mechanisms seem to be not uncommon amongst various parasitic species (including this one kind of barnacle that is a parasite to crabs and not only castrates them, but invades them with various pseudopod like things to directly tap into their organs and suck the life out of them..), so to have the mechanisms appear in a fish (certain chemicals that bind flesh to flesh and keep immune systems from destroying the intruder) isn’t too unlikely. Then–the actual elimination of all non-essential body parts–i.e. everything but the gonads–would easily be favored by natural selection, since this means more energy for sperm production and thus the genes spread themselves faster and more often than those who would have decided they still wanted a brain, heart, etc…

  18. says

    I’ve always thought parasites are fascinating. Especially, I find worms to be absolutely extraordinary.You’ve got flukes that turn a snail’s antenna into a strobe light and brainwash the snail into crawling to the top of vegetation, you’ve got worms that make ants bite the top of a blade of grass and wait for a cow, you’ve got heartworm that just looks damn incredible sitting there in the heart like spaghetti filling up a hollowed-out tomato… And their complex multi-host life-cycles are simply amazing! When I was little, I sometimes thought I’d make a career out of studying worms, and even though now I want to study bioinformatics instead, I still find worms to be one of the most interesting aspects of zoology I know.

  19. Valhar2000 says

    I believe ants have a similar system. The male ants don’t merge with the Queen, but they do end the life in a climax by depositing their sperm and dying, and then letting her get on with the work.It’s one reproductive strategy among others, really. It seems unusual because humans are so set on the opposite strategy.

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