December 16, 2017

The Deep-Sea Angler: A Wonder Of God’s World

By Daniel H. King

God's world is filled with many wonders which testify to his greatness and power. As David wrote in his appraisal of the creative work of God: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge" (Psalms 19:1, 2).

Many examples of this could be offered to the interested reader. Here we would like to mention one of the fish found in the world's oceans, the deep-sea anglers. They appear to belong to science-fiction rather than the real world. Inhabiting the deep oceans at depths of over one mile, the deep-sea anglers possess some amazing capabilities which suit them to this inhospitable environment.

These fish belong to a group of marine fish (order Laphiiformes, suborder Ceratioidei) whose foremost dorsal spine in the female is located on the head and elongated into a "fishing rod" tipped with "fleshy" bait. The bait is dangled in front of her mouth and when another creature comes near enough to investigate a possible meal, the curious one suddenly becomes a meal. However, at the depth of one mile, there is no light; how then can the bait be seen? Most deep-sea fish have some kind of light-producing capability. The angler fish is no exception, it possesses this light in the "bait," and it is primarily the light which attracts the prey. It is produced by a complex chemical process: luciferin is oxidized by molecular oxygen with the aid of the enzyme luciferase. The result is a flourescent bait which can be readily manipulated so as to supply food to the angler even in the darkest recesses of the ocean.

The deep-sea angler has another unique feature. Thelarge female is generally found with several smaller fish attached to its abdomen. At first these were thought to be its young. Later investigations uncovered the amazing fact that these were the male of the species. Upon emergence from the larval to the adult state, the male searches out a female and bites into her abdomen. Eventually their tissues blend and the circulatory systems unite into one and the male literally lives the rest of his life as a parasite of the female. The all-important matter of finding a mate in a pitch-black sea is thus uniquely solved.

This fish is also different in that it lacks a swim-bladder. In most marine fish there is a small air-sac that provides sufficient buoyancy to prevent sinking. But sinking to the bottom is precisely what the deep-sea angler requires; hence, it has no swim bladder. Besides, even if one were present, it would not be able to withstand the tremendous pressures of the deep ocean (at these depths the pressure is in excess of 2000 pounds per square inch). The angler's entire system is amazingly well suited to fit the hostile environment of the ocean depths.

The modem evolutionist tells us that these systems have merely developed in order to adapt this creature to its environment. (As though their godless processes of mechanical change were some sort of Supreme Being looking to the needs of each of its creations.) We need to ask ourselves, however, "What environment did the angler inhabit until it developed these systems?" And, again, "How could it have survived in the deep oceans until it did develop these unique mechanisms?" The answer is that God provided these systems to this miniscule but magnificent part of his creation to fit it for survival. These are not changes which existing species of fishes evolved, they are the product of the handiwork of God!

... God provided these systems to this miniscule but magnificent part of his creation to fit it for survival. These are not changes which existing species of fishes evolved, they are the product of the handiwork of God!

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 18, p. 19
September 16, 1993

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