black seadevil
Black Seadevil captured in natural habitat on film for first time.MBARI

An extremely weird and little-studied fish known as the Black Seadevil has been captured on film in its natural habitat for what is thought to be the first time.

Marine biologists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California (MBARI) filmed the anglerfish - Melanocetus – off Monterey Bay using a remotely operated vehicle.

Senior scientists Bruce Robinsons said he came across the deep-sea fish at about 1,900ft below the ocean surface.

"This is the first time we've captured this fish on video in its habitat. Anglerfish, like this Melanocetus, are among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes," he said.

"The shining spot at the tip of the 'fishing pole' projecting from the fish's head is a glowing lure. The anglerfish uses its light to attract prey in its deep, dark habitat."

Black Seadevil fish have only been seen in the wild a handful of times and the researchers believe this is the first video footage ever recorded of the species at such a depth.

The creature filmed is just nine centimetres long and is seen diving down with its triangular-shaped mouth wide open, teeth on full display.

It is thought there are over 200 species of anglerfish across the globe, most living deep below the ocean surface. Females lure prey with a luminous bulb-like growth that protrudes from their head like a fishing pole.

Their mouths are so big that they are able to swallow prey up to twice the size of their own.

Earlier this year, fishermen off the Gulf of Mexico reeled in one of the world's most elusive species of shark, the goblin shark. The fish is thought to be only the second specimen caught in these waters.

Fisherman Carl Moore said: "I didn't even know what it was. I didn't get the tape measure out because that thing's got some wicked teeth, they could do some damage."