Yawning Chaunacops Anglerfish Shows off Amazing Morphology
No, it’s not a Pokemon; it’s a Chaunacops! This anglerfish treated the E/V Nautilus team with views of its impressive jaw structure and other evolutionary advancements on an unnamed eastern seamount of the Liliʻuokalani Ridge. Also known as seatoads, these bottom-dwelling fishes are found on hard and soft substrates in the world's oceans including this Pacific ancient volcanic slope. What may seem like legs are actually modified pelvic fins that help them move along the seafloor. Look closely and you can also spot the infamous lure that anglerfish use to attract prey towards their gaping mouths, usually via bioluminescence.
These unexplored seamounts sit within and just outside Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The Monument is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area under the U.S. flag, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. Papahānaumokuākea is not only of great importance to Native Hawaiians, but it also supports an incredible diversity of coral, fish, birds, marine mammals and other flora and fauna, many of which are unique to the Hawaiian Island chain.
Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute with additional support from the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
This expedition will have E/V Nautilus returning to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) to build on the accomplishments of the 2021 Luʻuaeaahikiikalipolipo expedition, which mapped the previously unmapped Liliʻuokalani Ridge Seamounts. The team returns for the first visual exploratory surveys of the seamount chain looking to investigate a puzzling split in the seamount trail.