“A pretty amazing little beastie”

I made the previous fish entry a week too soon. Mark emailed me last night to let me know about Haplophryne mollis, an odd little fish he just posted to the museum site. This one is notable for both its strange appearance and unusual mating behavior:

Mature males are usually seen permanently attached to females. When a free-living male encounters a female, it bites the female and the skin of his mouth eventually fuses with that of the female. The male then becomes parasitic on the female.

I missed my best shot at such a relationship when I left Vanderbilt without having married a wealthy Tri-Delt (can’t say I regret that too much). Despite the endless possibilities, this fish doesn’t have a common name yet. It surely deserves something more creative than H. mollis.


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