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).