Dandy Designs title

Sea Devil

One of the amazing things about life on the earth is that life exists in places where the conditions are so severe that it would seem impossible for any kind of life to be there. Imagine living in a place where there is no sunlight, the temperature is slightly above freezing, and pressure is greater than 150 tons per square foot. This is the home of the deep sea anglerfish also known as the triplewart sea devil and wolf-trap anglerfish. These names got applied when people found dead specimens floating in the ocean and could not imagine what they were like when they were alive. Now that scientists have seen them in their natural environment, the awe of these creatures has just gotten bigger.

Eating is a major issue for this fish. How do you locate food in totally dark, sparsely populated regions of the sea? The deep sea anglerfish has a rod running off its head with a light-giving enzyme called luciferase on its tip. This enables the fish to attract prey and/or mates. The tip is a fleshy wad that wiggles, looking like a small fish. The jaw of the fish produces suction when the mouth is opened and it has retractable teeth that face into the mouth. An approaching fish will be sucked into the mouth and cannot get out. The mouth can open in four milliseconds so the suction is very fast. The stomach of the fish is expandable so it can actually swallow something larger than itself.

Finding a mate is an issue in the conditions of the deep sea, but the male anglerfish is 25 times smaller than the female, and when they find each other he chomps down on the female and never lets go. His circulatory system fuses with hers and all his organs except the reproductive organs shut down, so he becomes a permanent sperm bank. One species of anglerfish has a male that is 6.2 mm long, the smallest vertebrate known to man.

One can propose that evolutionary change explains these incredible adaptations to an alien environment, but we would suggest that intelligence planned and designed this system so that life can exist even in the deserts of the oceans. We can know there is a God through the things He has made (Romans 1:20).

Source: Discover, June 2010, page 20.

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