The elusive Schaefer's anglerfish that uses its fin to walk on the ocean floor was discovered patiently waiting for its prey in the deep seas of Florida.
During a deep-sea dive off the coast of Florida, the explorers were befuddled by a rare occupant of the ocean floor. They could have easily mistaken this creature for a rock, had they not paid closer attention to the elusive goosefish as it sat motionless, resembling a rock.
What the deep-sea explorers came across was the Schaefer's anglerfish as it patiently waited for its prey trying to blend into the landscape of the ocean floor.
In a video that was shared by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research on Facebook, the researchers marvel at the rare fish which is also commonly called the Sladenia shaefersi.
The Schaefer's anglerfish was one of the first fish that was sighted during the Dive 12 of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration and turned to be one of the favorites that the team came across, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
This video of the sighting of the fish has since gone viral. "While we do encounter anglerfish in our deep-ocean exploration, this particularly species is not as well known," the post read. "So catching a glimpse of it and its modified fins that act much like feet, allowing it to "walk" on the seafloor, was indeed a treat."
The video shows the fish sitting as still as a statue as the team of explorers curiously documents the fish in its natural habitat.
Explorers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nearly missed spotting a rare Schaefer's anglerfish because it closely resembles a rock on the sea floor https://t.co/sCrlriqMDu pic.twitter.com/VPwckdJWs8— CNN (@CNN) December 20, 2019
The oceanographers say that although these fish are hard to find and little was known about them previously, as they have been studying the fish more, the anglerfish is increasingly becoming more known too. The Schaefer's anglerfish uses its fin that looks like an elephant's foot, as observed in the video.
It uses this modified fin to walk around the ocean floor looking for prey. They are said to be able to “eat things almost twice its size,” like a nautical clown car reports the New York Post.
Like all anglerfish species the monkfish has a modified fin ray, the esca, movable in all directions; this is used as a lure to attract other fish, which the monkfish then seize with their enormous jaws, devouring them whole https://t.co/OPlQ3WW8HR [gif: https://t.co/KNPUqAIWO6] pic.twitter.com/2ikdJ3P7th— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) December 18, 2019
According to National Geographic, "There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, most of which live in the murky depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, up to a mile below the surface, although some live in shallow, tropical environments." They live in the most isolated and lightless parts of the sea which turn out to be hospitable habitats.