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No. 5: November 1978

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Fish Creates Fish

A Philippine anglerfish, looking for all the world like a rock or shell, waves before its maw a piece of bait resembling small fish found in this region. The bait, which is part of the anglerfish's body, has fins, a tail, and black spots for eyes. The waving about of the bait attracts predatory fish close enough for the anglerfish to snap them up. The authors surmise that the anglerfish evolved this realistic bait (and rod and reel) in order to save energy in acquiring food.

(Pietsch, Theodore W., and Grobecker, David B.; "The Complete Angler: Aggressive Mimicry in an Antennariid Anglerfish," Science, 201:369, 1978.)

Comment. One wonders how many unfishlike baits were evolved before just the right shape and coloration were achieved.

Philippine anglerfish waves a piece of bait resembling a small fish

From Science Frontiers #5, November 1978. 1978-2000 William R. Corliss