Friday mystery object #422 answer

Last week I gave you this rather fishy looking mystery object to have a go at identifying:

With that prominent lure it was fairly obvious to everyone that this is an anglerfish of some sort, but there are somewhere in the region of 286 different species, so it needs some narrowing down.

That bulbous body shape is pretty distinctive though, so a lot of people both in the comments and on Twitter quickly identified this as one of the football fish in the genus Himantolophus.

Narrowing down to species is perhaps a bit tricky from just this photo. There are 22 species in the genus and thanks to the deep sea habitat these fish inhabit they aren’t commonly seen, so photos for comparison can be hard to find.

However, the double bony ridge on the head (that makes it look like it’s frowning) is very prominent in this specimen, which isn’t the case for all of the football fish species. However, it is particularly notable in the Pacific and Atlantic Football Fish species.

I have to admit that I’m just not good enough with fish identification to tell the difference based on specimens I’ve seen. However, since this specimen is in the Dead Zoo in Dublin, it seems unlikely (although not impossible) to be from the Pacific.

In the words of our youngest commenter:

It is indeed an Atlantic Football Fish Himantolophus groenlandicus J. C. H. Reinhardt, 1837, so very well done to E and everyone else who managed to work it out!

One thought on “Friday mystery object #422 answer

  1. I guessed at H. groenlandicus early on… but on totally inadequate grounds: it was the first “football fish” I found a picture of on the WWWeb.

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