Looking like a creature from the Alien movies, this nightmarish "longhead dreamer" anglerfish (Chaenophryne longiceps) was until recently an alien species to Greenland waters. The dreamer, which grows to a not-so-monstrous 6.7 inches in length, is 1 of 38 fish species found around the Arctic island for the first time, according to a recent study led by biologist Peter Moller of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.
The Iceland catshark species, including this fish caught during the study period, is among several sharks recently found in Greenland waters for the first time. The small shark has been found in other oceans at depths of between 2,645 to 4,625 feet, where it feeds on fish, marine worms, and crustaceans such as lobster and crabs.
Scaly oddities trawled up from seas around Greenland since 1992 include the Atlantic football fish, a type of anglerfish that lures prey by waggling its fleshy bait. The stubby, deep-sea species belongs to an anglerfish group in which the males attach themselves to the much larger females like parasites. The tiny male—little more than a sperm donor—is nourished by the female until her eggs are fertilized.
This Portuguese dogfish is one of four such specimens found off Greenland since 2007. Listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the deep-sea species native had previously been unknown in Greenland waters, the new report says. Highlighted in the study as one of the most unexpected finds, the Portuguese dogfish usually dwells in more southerly waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. Commercial fishers catch the Portuguese dogfish both by accident and on purpose—generally for its liver oil, which is used in cosmetics.
The Mediterranean grenadier, or rattail (pictured with a gape-mouthed expression) was first spotted around Greenland in 1998, the new report says. Most of the new-to-Greenland deepwater species reported in the survey, such as this grenadier, are of little commercial value.
Anglerfish species new to Greenland include the peculiarly appendaged Linophryne bicornis, such as this specimen hauled up from a depth of 4,685 feet in 2009. Anglerfish typically sport long protuberances, which can be waggled to lure other fish close enough to be swallowed whole.
It may be unappetizing to look at, but this newly arrived species of anglerfish, Lophius piscatorius—that's "monkfish" to seafood fans—could prove a tasty addition to Greenland's fishery, according to study leader Peter Møller. Though monkfish remain rare in Greenland, they appear to be taking advantage to the island's warmer sea temperatures—as are fellow relatively shallow-water species, including Mueller's pearlsides, whiting, blackbelly rosefish, and snake pipefish.
Chiasmodon harteli belongs to a group of fishes known as swallowers because of their ability to swallow prey larger than themselves. Hundreds of yards above Chiasmodon harteli's deep habitat, Greenland has been extensively fished for more than a century.
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There's been a spike in fresh fish faces seen off Greenland. And whether the cause is rising ocean temperatures or increased deep-sea fishing, the new discoveries are astounding. By National Geographic News.