Baby leaves

Deep sea angler fish in your own backyard!

Baby leaves! Not quite a leaf bud, not quite a leaf. So cute.

Well, sort of. They kind of remind me of deep sea anglerfish.

Did you know—this came up at work the other day—did you know that anglerfish reproduce by… well, the male’s digestive system starts failing around when he reaches fish-puberty, so he needs to find a female really quickly. (He’s about the size of your thumb.) When he finds a lady (female anglerfish are more football-sized), he bites her.

Standard mating ritual, right? NO. His head fuses to her body, and soon the male has been absorbed into the female—no eyes, no brain, no gills, no fins, no nothing. Just a nubbin of gonads hanging off the female. Because the neurovasculature becomes intertwined, she can control the release of sperm hormonally, and fertilize her own eggs.

When researchers first discovered anglerfish, they thought the fish just had these weird extra limbs. No, those were absorbed male fish.

Ugh!

I totally didn’t believe this when I first heard it, but the internet tells me it’s true.
(Animal Planet) (Wikipedia) (National Geographic) (The Oatmeal)

…and there you go.

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2 Comments to “Baby leaves”

  1. This is one of the strangest and coolest things I’ve ever read. You rock.

    And cool leaf thingy. It looks quite science fictiony. But normal science fictiony. Deep sea anglerfish reproduction is a bit more deep-end science fictiony. But that’s how nature is. The oceans are teeming with creatures and processes wilder than the most imaginative science fiction.

    • Absolutely! My first thought, when I realized it didn’t look all that leafy, was that it looked like an alien.

      And then I saw the anglerfish resemblance and there was just no question what I was going to write about.

      🙂

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