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Deep-Sea Seadevil Is Voted One of the ‘Ugliest’ Fish in the Sea at Launch of New Education Book and Resources

18th November 2022
Clockwise from left: Cerys Johnston (age 10) and Hugo Johnston (12), Oscar Ó Cuaig (11), Florence O’Donnell (12) and Edith O’Donnell (8) celebrate with author Cushla Dromgool-Regan as the deep-sea black seadevil anglerfish is voted one of the ugliest fish in the ocean at the launch of the Explorers Education Programme’s new book and resources at the Galway Science & Technology Festival
Clockwise from left: Cerys Johnston (age 10) and Hugo Johnston (12), Oscar Ó Cuaig (11), Florence O’Donnell (12) and Edith O’Donnell (8) celebrate with author Cushla Dromgool-Regan as the deep-sea black seadevil anglerfish is voted one of the ugliest fish in the ocean at the launch of the Explorers Education Programme’s new book and resources at the Galway Science & Technology Festival Credit: Andrew Downes/Xposure

The black seadevil anglerfish was voted as “one of the ugliest deep-sea fish species” during the launch of the new Explorers Education Programme book and resources, The Good, The Bad + The Ugly: Deep Sea Species, which took place at the Marine Institute exhibit at the Galway Science and Technology Festival 2022.

Inspired by the work of the Marine Institute’s scientists that carry out deep-sea fishing surveys on board the research vessels each year, Cushla Dromgool-Regan — Explorers strategic education and communications manager at Camden Education Trust — said she was delighted to produce a new book and resources that showcased the amazing marine wildlife that are found in the deepest parts of the ocean in Ireland and around the world.

“I love deep-sea animals and their amazing ability to adapt under extreme conditions,” she said. “The animals selected for the book were based on some of our favourite deep-sea species that we have affectionately called the good, the bad and the ugly — because of their incredible features that help them survive. Some look cute but are deadly and others look angry but are basically looking for their next meal.”

Families were introduced to some of these amazing animals at the exhibit, where they saw a display of supersized photos of the deep-sea species. The blobfish known as Mr Blobby, the viperfish with giant fangs, the hagfish that produces slime in seconds and the goblin shark with a protruding jaw were just some of the children’s favourites.

The Explorers programme team were delighted to see their mascot, the black seadevil anglerfish come in with top votes by children “who loved learning about its bioluminescent lure, expandable stomach and huge mouth that can pretty much eat anything it can get its mouth around”, Dromgool-Regan added.

“There are over 200 species of anglerfish. Among them, the species known as the monkfish can open its mouth wide enough to engulf other animals larger than itself. It is reported that monkfish have been found with birds in their stomachs including gulls, puffins and cormorants.”

‘The workbook and lessons and activities will help develop children’s STEM skills, while also increasing their engagement in the ocean’

Patricia Orme, corporate services director with the Marine Institute congratulated the Explorers team on the production of the excellent new resources.

“This will certainly generate excitement in the classroom!” she said. “The materials are packed full of photos and graphics showing the greatest explorers, ocean zones as well as the weird and wonderful creatures that call the deep-sea home.

“The workbook and lessons and activities are also really well illustrated and we are sure will help develop children’s STEM skills, while also increasing their engagement in the ocean.”

The Good, The Bad + The Ugly: Deep Sea Species and resources are free to download from the Explorers website. The Explorers team will also be delivering deep-sea species class projects with primary schools, where teachers will receive printed copies of the introductory book and workbooks with a range of cross-curricular activities for the children.

There are over 20 activities to choose from such as making an anglerfish light card — learning about electricity and circuits — to one of the Explorers teams’ favourites: creating fashion from slime, inspired by the hag fish.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, the State agency for marine research and development, and delivered by outreach centres to primary schools around the country, as well as for Leave No Trace Ireland, Galway Atlantaquaria, Sea Synergy, Old Cork Waterworks – Lifetime Lab, Oceanics and SEASHOREKIDS.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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