Overview

Brief Summary

The American anglerfish Lophius americanus, also called goosefish, is a monkfish in the family Lophiidae; a ground dweller native to the eastern coast of North America. While eaten by humans, it is a fish of lesser importance than other food fish in the region, such as cod, and Greenpeace International recently added L. americanus to its seafood red list, indicating it has a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.

The American anglerfish’s unique appearance cannot be confused with other species in the regions where it is caught: it has a large mouth, more than twice the width of the tail, containing several spines and strong teeth that enable it to snare prey (fish, squid, cuttlefish, and sometimes carrion) larger than itself. Its body is flattened dorso-ventrally to allow it to hide on the sea floor. An ambush predator, the American anglerfish spends most of its time sitting still on sandy or rocky surfaces. The front of the head carries erectile spines, one of which functions as a lure for prey, with a tip resembling a small organism or piece of algae. The pectoral fins are like wide fans behind the head, which it uses to “walk” along the ocean floor.

Lophius americanus can live several decades, grow to 140 cm long (although 100 cm is a more usual size), and weigh up to 22.6 kg (the greatest recorded weight). (Wikipedia 2012)

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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits continental shelf, occurring deeper in southern parts of range (Ref 7251); tolerating a wide range of temperature (0-21°C) (Ref. 5951).
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence to northern Florida
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Western Atlantic: Quebec in Canada to northeastern Florida in USA, but uncommon in nearshore waters south of North Carolina, USA.
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Western North Atlantic.
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Quebec in Canada to northeastern Florida in USA, but uncommon in nearshore waters south of North Carolina, USA.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Robins, C. R. and G. C. Ray, 1986.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 1200 mm TL
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Max. size

120 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251)); max. published weight: 22.6 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 30 years (Ref. 796)
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to 120 cm TL (male/unsexed); max. weight: 22 kg.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Robins, C. R. and G. C. Ray, 1986.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

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benthic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Found to depths of 100 m, inhabiting the continental shelf.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 0 - 668 m (Ref. 54567)
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Depth range based on 15709 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 10755 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 1382
  Temperature range (°C): -0.404 - 24.323
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.663 - 26.300
  Salinity (PPS): 31.035 - 36.473
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.207 - 7.779
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.118 - 1.829
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.328 - 19.024

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 1382

Temperature range (°C): -0.404 - 24.323

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.663 - 26.300

Salinity (PPS): 31.035 - 36.473

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.207 - 7.779

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.118 - 1.829

Silicate (umol/l): 1.328 - 19.024
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Demersal; marine; depth to 100 m. Continental shelf, occurring deeper in more southern waters.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Robins, C. R. and G. C. Ray, 1986.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Inhabits continental shelf, occurring deeper in southern parts of range (Ref 7251). Preferred depth ranges were given as 73-90 and 128-144 m, temperatures of 6-10°C and salinities of 33-34 ppt. Feeds on herring, sand lance, alewives, menhaden, smelt, cod, haddock, mackerel, cunner, striped bass, sculpins, sea ravens, flounders, skates, crabs, squid, other molluscs, starfish, marine worms and seabirds. Parasites of the species include 1 protozoan, 6 trematodes and the larvae of the nematode Phocanema sp. (Ref. 5951).
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Nekton, mainly fishes, occasionally sea birds.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Robins, C. R. and G. C. Ray, 1986.
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Associations

Known predators

Lophius americanus (Goosefish) is prey of:
Lophius americanus
Chondrichthyes
Homo sapiens

Based on studies in:
USA, Northeastern US contintental shelf (Coastal)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Link J (2002) Does food web theory work for marine ecosystems? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 230:1–9
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Known prey organisms

  • Link J (2002) Does food web theory work for marine ecosystems? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 230:1–9
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds on fishes including herring, sand lance, alewives, smelt and cod
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Life Cycle

That testes seem to develop earlier and stay ripe longer suggest multiple spawning by males. Eggs are laid in long, ribbon-shaped veils (Ref. 4842).
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Reproduction

Open water/substratum egg scatterers. It is probable that males spawn multiple times. Spawning occurs from March to May.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Robins, C. R. and G. C. Ray, 1986.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lophius americanus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 12 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACCCTTTATTTAATCTTTGGTGCCTGAGCCGGAATAGTAGGCACCGCCCTA---AGCTTGCTCATTCGGGCTGAACTGAGCCAACCCGGCGCCCTCTTAGGGGAT---GACCAAATCTACAACGTTATTGTTACCGCTCACGCCTTTGTAATAATTTTCTTTATGGTTATACCAATTATGATTGGAGGGTTTGGCAACTGACTTATCCCCTTAATG---ATTGGGGCCCCGGACATAGCCTTCCCCCGAATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGGCTACTTCCCCCTTCTTTCCTCCTGCTACTTGCATCTTCCGGGGTTGAAGCCGGAGCAGGCACTGGATGAACCGTCTACCCCCCGTTGGCAGGGAACCTTGCACATGCAGGAGCCTCTGTTGACCTA---ACTATTTTTTCCCTCCACCTAGCAGGAATTTCTTCAATCCTAGGAGCAATCAACTTCATCACAACAATTATTAACATAAAACCCCCCACAATCTCCCAGTACCAGACACCTTTATTCGTTTGAGCTGTTTTAATCACAGCAGTTCTTTTACTCCTATCCCTACCCGTGCTTGCCGCA---GGCATTACCATGCTCTTAACAGACCGAAACTTAAACACCACCTTCTTCGACCCCACAGGAGGAGGGGACCCTATCCTATACCAACACTTG------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lophius americanus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 18
Specimens with Barcodes: 23
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 3 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Florida Museum of Natural History and Raffles Museum, Singapore
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: highly commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
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Wikipedia

Lophius americanus

"Headfish" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Fish head.
"Satchel-mouth" redirects here. For other uses, see Satchel-mouth (disambiguation).

Lophius americanus is a goosefish in the family Lophiidae, also called all-mouth, American anglerfish, bellows-fish, devil-fish, headfish, molligut, satchel-mouth, or wide-gape. It is native to the eastern coast of North America.

Description[edit]

The American anglerfish is unique in its appearance and has no relatives with which it can be confused in the areas where it is caught. A fish of lesser importance than other food fish in the region, such as cod, its various names suggest its unusual appearance - a very large mouth, more than twice the width of the tail, with several spines and strong teeth, enabling it to snare prey larger than itself. The body is flattened dorsoventrally to allow it to hide on the sea floor. The front of the head carries erectile spines, the primary of which has a flattened end to resemble a small organism or piece of algae. The pectoral fins are like wide fans behind the head, and the pelvic fins are like small hands below the head.

The American anglerfish can grow to a length of 140 cm (55 in), but 100 cm (39 in) is a more usual size. The greatest recorded weight is 22.6 kg (50 lb) and the greatest recorded age is 30 years.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The American anglerfish is found in the western Atlantic from Newfoundland and Quebec south to northern Florida, but is commoner in the more northerly parts of its range, north of Cape Hatteras. It is a demersal fish living close to the seabed at depths down to about 2,000 feet (610 m).[2] It is found on sand bottoms, gravel, shell fragments, mud and clay.[3]

Biology[edit]

Skeleton
Various sizes of Lophius americanus

The American anglerfish is an ambush predator. It spends most of its time on the seabed partly covered in sediment waiting for suitable prey to pass. It can swim slowly or "walk" with the help of its pectoral fins. Its diet normally consists of fin and ray fish, squids, cuttlefish and occasionally carrion.[3] After storms it has been reported on the sea surface where it has been recorded as catching seabirds.[4]

Spawning takes place in the summer with a peak in May and June. The eggs are large and are believed to be unique among fish in being attached to a floating mucus veil. The number of eggs in a veil can range from 1 to 3 million and the veil drifts on the surface of the sea. The eggs hatch after 6 to 100 days, depending on the sea temperature, and remain protected within the veil for a few days, absorbing nutrients from their yolk sacs. They then become pelagic and join other fish larvae in the "ichthyoplankton community". The larvae feed on zooplankton and look quite different from the adult fish, being laterally compressed and having long dorsal and pectoral fin rays. When about 7 centimetres (2.8 in) long they become juveniles, changing their appearance over a period of several weeks into the adult shape and starting to live on the seabed. They grow fast in their first year and more slowly thereafter.[3]

Food use[edit]

The flesh of the anglerfish is located primarily in the body, less so in the "shoulders" and cheeks. The flesh is very white and moist, becoming quite firm when cooked. It is served both in soups and grilled, and is similar in texture to the flesh of crustaceans. Fillets are thick and boneless resembling crab or lobster tail. Connoisseurs believe the liver is also excellent. The fish is covered with a soft, scaleless, elastic skin, under which another thin edible membrane covers the flesh. Though much less so than in cod, one can sometimes find parasitic worms in the flesh of anglerfish, whose opacity can make them easier to find. Worms are usually found between the skin and outer portion of the flesh ranging in size from a few milimeters to over one inch.

Sustainable consumption[edit]

In 2010, Greenpeace International added Lophius americanus or the American anglerfish to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bailly, Nicolas (2010). "Lophius americanus Valenciennes, 1837". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  2. ^ a b Lophius americanus Valenciennes, 1837 FishBase. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  3. ^ a b c Goosefish, Lophius americanus, Life History and Habitat Characteristics. US Department of Commerce: National Marine Fisheries Service. 1999. 
  4. ^ Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder (1953). "Fishes of the Gulf of Maine". Fishery Bulletin (U.S. Fish & Widlife Service) 53: 1–577. 
  5. ^ Greenpeace International Seafood Red list

References[edit]

  • Monkfish NOAA FishWatch. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  • Dictionary of American Regional English
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