Bizarre 'Black Seadevil' Fish Caught on Video for First Time

The “black seadevil.” MBARI

Anglerfish are little-known creatures that live deep in the sea and get by in a world with little light. In order to survive, many of them have come up with unique ways of making a living. The "black seadevil," a fish in the genus Melanocetus, for example, has a bizarre stalk-like structure coming out of the top of its head that produces light to lure would-be prey toward the beast's toothy mouth.

These animals have rarely been seen in their natural habitat, and according to scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), this is the first-ever video of a black seadevil in the wild. The footage was taken at a depth of about 1,970 feet (600 meters) below the surface, off the coast of California.

Although they are fearsome-looking, this little female anglerfish is only about 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) long. Males of this species are much smaller, and their main biological purpose is to mate with females before dying, MBARI notes.