A rarely seen fish that resembles a severed head with a huge mouthful of fangs has been captured on video in its natural, deep-sea habitat for the first time.

The female “black sea devil” anglerfish was filmed 580 metres below the surface of the ocean on Nov. 17 using a remote-controlled robotic submarine by researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

As of Monday morning, the video of a female “black sea devil” anglerfish has already been watched 1.4 million since it was posted on YouTube three days earlier.

Doc Ricketts ROV

The video was captured using a remotely operated vehicle called Doc Ricketts, shown here being launched from the research vessel Western Flyer. (Todd Walsh/MBARI)

Anglerfish are monstrous-looking deep-sea predators named and known for a worm-like appendage on their heads that emits light. The fish waves the lure around in order entice prey into their gaping mouths.

According to the research institute, anglerfish have only been captured on video a handful of times. To the researchers’ knowledge, this particular species was never filmed previously.

The beady-eyed, nine-centimetre-long fish, which swims with its toothy mouth open wide, is captured in such detail that you can see a broken tooth flapping as it swims and tiny dots on its skin that are used to sense the movements of its prey.

The researchers report they know it is a female because males are much smaller and don’t have a lure, as their main focus is reproduction rather than hunting.

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