Reproductive Biology

The reproductive adaptations found among the ceratioid an-glerfishes are among the most fascinating in the animal kingdom. As mentioned earlier, all lophiiform anglerfishes appear to have some degree of sexual dimorphism in the structure and size of the olfactory organs. It is assumed that this is associated with the females' production of species-specific pheromones, which attract the males when the female is ready to breed. In ceratioid anglerfishes this sexual dimorphism has reached its extreme, not only among the vertebrates but also perhaps the entire animal kingdom. In most of the 11 ceratioid families, the female is considerably larger than the male (females range from three to 13 times the length of conspecific males). Furthermore, in at least four ceratioid families the males have been so drastically reduced that they have become essentially a pair of swimming testes directed by a huge pair of olfactory organs. Once these "minimized" males find a female, they attach themselves to her with their jaws, eventually achieving histo-logical fusion and leading the remainder of their lives as essentially a pair of "ectoparasitic" testes.

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