Warty seadevils

Exactly as the name implies
Warty seadevils are the kind of hideous and awesome creatures which come to mind when we think of the deep sea.  The females have huge heads, massive mouths, sandpaper skin, are covered in tiny spines and have a bioluminescent lure.  The lure’s glowing light is perched at the top of a modified fin ray, which acts as a fishing rod, attracting both prey and males.

Right: Mel and I with a Warty seadevil.

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Found worldwide except for in the polar regions, this is a species which has taken sexual dimorphism (differences between males and females) to the extreme.  While the females can get to the size of a large satchel and have the classic glowing lure, the males are much smaller, and parasitic.  There are more males than females, so if a male is lucky enough to meet a female in the vastness of the deep sea, he permanently fuses himself to her with specialised jaws.  From then on, the male gets all his nutrient requirements from the female and is a sperm-producing parasite for the rest of his life.

Carrying on with the warty theme, next up is the warty squid…or should that be the warty squids, plural?