Researchers at the Monterey Bay Research Institute caught video footage of a Black Seadevil (genus Melanocetus) at a depth of 656 yards (600 meters). A senior scientist at the Institute, Bruce Robison, believes this is the first time a living fish was filmed at that depth. The footage was taken at the Monterey Canyon, an undersea canyon in the Pacific Ocean about the size of the Grand Canyon.
The female Black Seadevil in the video is 3.54 inches (9 centimeters) long. It is a member of the order Lophiiformes or anglerfish, which are deep-sea predators that have a bioluminescent lure on their heads they use to entice prey towards them. As their rotund bodies are not built for speed, they are ambush predators. They feed on crustaceans and smaller fish. They are definitely interesting animals to learn more and more about in the eyes of Flavio Maluf.
Black Seadevils are indeed black and they have a large head with lots of long, sharp teeth. They have small eyes, as sight is not much use in the depths. Their dominant sense is touch. Females are much larger than the males, which attach themselves to the female’s belly and gradually fuse with her, becoming nothing more than an appendage that produces sperm when the female is ready to spawn.
While there are over 200 known species of anglerfish, they are rarely seen, given their preference for deep waters. They have been caught on film only about a half-dozen times. The Monterey Bay Black Seadevil got close enough to the camera for researchers to notice that she had a broken tooth.