Three a-LURE-ing aquatic adaptations!

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Hey anglers, what’s your favorite fishing lure? Does it mimic a minnow? How about a crayfish or salamander? As sport fishing has become more popular, fishing lures have evolved to appear more and more realistic. But they still can’t match the natural lures produced my millions of years of evolution.

This week, we’ve teamed up with Garfield Kwan of Squidtoons comics to bring you three of the coolest natural fishing lures in the aquatic world.


Alligator snapping turtle. Snapping turtles aren’t exactly the most nimble freshwater predators, but they’re definitely one of the coolest. This ancient lie-in-wait hunter has evolved one of the most unique lures in the aquatic world—an appendage on its tongue that looks just like a red worm. To catch prey, alligator snapping turtles just sit around with their mouth open (which is camouflaged on the inside!) and wiggle their tongue…quickly turning the tables on a minnow out for an easy meal.


Wavy-rayed lampmussel. Female mussels are great mothers, but they have a sneaky way of kicking the kids out of the house. After brooding her offspring (called glochidia) inside her shell, a female lampmussel displays her most unique body part—a flap on her mantle that looks like a small fish. It’s a lure so realistic, it’s been attracting bass since the Pleistocene. When a predator approaches the lure, she releases her glochidia on its gills, where they hitch a free ride before falling into the streambed to start their new life.


Black dragonfish. Like many other deep sea predators, this species uses a bioluminescent lure to capture its prey. Common in the deep sea, both predators and prey use bioluminescence to attract mates or prey, or to confuse predators. To a prey species, the Black dragonfish’s bioluminescent lure probably resembles a tasty crustacean or zooplankton. However, they’re in for a sore surprise; just look at those teeth.

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