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ANGLERFISH:

This female may have been the nightmarish model for Mrs. Pac-man.

This female Anglerfish's tiny mate was once mistaken for a parasite; despite her pronounced lack of physical beauty, women around the world reportedly identify with the female Angler.

 Male Anglerfish (from the order Lophiformes)  are tiny, insignificant in appearance, and were, when scientests first began studying the Anglerfish, thought to be parasites attached to the much larger females (up to 20x larger than the males). When a male matures, his digestive tract dissolves,  and he loses the ability to digest food without a female’s assistance; he thenceforth needs a female to prepare his food and prevent his immanent death. He quickly seeks out a mate, sinks his teeth into her skin, and proceeds to literally digest her tissues and fuse himself to her until they are as one. This romantic process is called “marriage.”* The male then dissolves “into nothing more than a pair of gonads”  that deliver sperm when ovulation is indicated by hormonal cues  in the female’s bloodstream. Despite the  grotesque process, many females find marriage extremely convenient, wishing only that that their mates would also take out the trash. Males seem content with the total loss of identity, so long as they retain their gonads.**

 

** ibid.

Cf. http://webecoist.com/2008/08/24/strangest-endangered-species-and-animals/
      http://tolweb.org/Lophiiformes
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglerfish

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Filed under marine life, parasites, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized