Marvel Of God’s Creation #6: The Angler Fish

One of God’s amazing creations is the deep-sea Angler fish. This fish makes its home more than a mile deep in ocean water. On her forehead the female has a “fishing rod” tipped with an “artificial worm.” She dangles this “bait” over her mouth to attract her next meal. Ah, but there is a problem— her next meal cannot see the bait, since it is too dark under more than a mile of seawater. Starvation sets in while she waits for her first deep-sea fish dinner. At last, she realizes, “I must do something about this darkness problem.” But, alas, it is too late. She is dead and dead fish can not evolve the adaptations needed to rectify deadly problems, even though evolution says that, given enough time, mindless, random chance processes will evolve whatever her situation (or environment) tells her is needed to survive. It may not be logical to some, but it seems to me that she would get mighty hungry waiting perhaps hundreds of years for her first meal.

The only possibility is that God created the Angler fish with all the fully-functional equipment it needed to survive at great depths. To solve the darkness problem, God created a special kind of light on the bait. This light displays highly advanced technology—it gives off no heat! A compound called Luciferin is oxidized with the help of an enzyme that scientists named Luciferase, and this reaction produces heatless light. (Research scientists have broken down Luciferase into more than 1,000 proteins, but they still do not know how the heatless light is produced. Someone someday may figure out how God made this heatless light. Need I say that they will join the ranks of the rich and famous?)

Ask an evolutionist how a deep-sea fish could evolve the ability to produce high-tech light on an artificial bait dangled over the fish’s mouth? God has made His creation to display His glory and power. No one could look at the Angler fish and say it is the result of the “impersonal plus time plus chance,” unless that person had already decided to refuse to believe in the God of the Bible (Romans 1). The vain speculations of macroevolution lead to foolish thinking and impossible conclusions.

Naturally, the Angler fish needs to reproduce and has a special way of doing this. In the darkness of the deep, it is difficult for the male and female to find each other. God designed the eggs of the female so that they float up through a mile of ocean to the surface. On the ocean surface, the eggs form a jellylike mass and then hatch. The young fish, male and female, grow and mature in the surface waters. At a certain point in their development, the male finds a female and bites and holds on to her abdomen. Soon the tissues of the female grow into and attach to the mouth tissues of the male, and the female drops to the bottom of the ocean carrying her parasite male with her, not to separate “’til death do they part.” He found her in the light of the surface waters, so he does not have to grope around in the dark of the deep looking for a mate. How could all of this evolve when it is so ultra-specialized and unique? Why does the female not chase the male away when he bites her abdomen? What possible evolutionary mechanism enables the male’s circulatory system to merge with the female’s? And from what creature did this peculiar fish evolve? Evolution has no answers.

A major difference between the Angler fish and other fish is the Angler’s lack of a swim bladder, which is an air sac to provide buoyancy and to prevent sinking. If it had evolved without an air bladder, it would sink and die. If it had an air bladder and had evolved the bait and light in surface waters, it would be easy prey for other predators and “survival of the fittest” would force it into extinction.

Another feature of the deep sea Angler is its special body, which is designed to prevent crushing. A pressure of over 2,000 pounds per square inch is exerted on the body of the fish at one mile deep. It survives this great pressure with no problem. On the other hand, if the first Anglers were surface fish and lost their air bladders, (through let’s say, some unexplainable genetic mutation) and then sank to the bottom of the sea, they would have been crushed. Dead animals don’t evolve any further.

Someone once asked what the purpose would be of the lighted bait on the Angler fish before the sin of Adam and the curse on nature? The Lord Jesus made life forms with the ability to exist in the pre- and post-Flood environments. Perhaps the lighted “bait” was used by the female to attract a male or to light up the rock surfaces so she could see her favorite plant food. None of us were there before the Fall or before the Flood and those conditions are not reproducible. But we can trust the God of the Bible and His Word. When the Lord Jesus says that things were different after the Flood, we believe Him, even if we can’t seem to figure out some of the particulars.

The deep-sea Angler had to have been created with all its special equipment fully functional. God says that as we study His creation, it should cause our thoughts to focus on the Creator, give Him thanks, and honor Him as God (Rom 1).85

85 For a wonderful look at the Angler fish and other highly specialized animals read: The Natural Limits to Biological Change by Lane P. Lester and Raymond G. Bohlin (Zondervan, 1984).