The first live observations of anglerfish in their natural habitat revealed that not all of them are red or rose-colored, as previously thought.
"One of the things we noticed right off the bat is all the larger ones are red and the smaller ones tend to be blue," MBARI's Lundsten said. "So we think ... that it's changing color, from a bluish-transparent larval phase to a red adult form."
The largest specimen that Lundsten's team observed was about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long, while the smallest was about 3 inches (7 centimeters) long.
The purplish color of the anglerfish pictured above suggests it is an adolescent, Lundsten added.
Another surprise from the imagery Lundsten's team collected: The fish appear able to "walk" along the seafloor using a combination of their pectoral fins and pelvic fins.
Scientists speculate that “walking” is more energy efficient than swimming short distances, and that it also disturbs the surrounding seawater less, reducing the chances of startling nearby prey.
(See a video clip from MBARI.)