Sea creature of the week!

Oct 31 2011


Scientific Name: Chauliodus Sloani

Family: Stomiidae

Home: The viperfish is a deep sea creatures who can be found in deep tropical and temperate waters. During the daytime it likes to hang out in very deep waters up to 9000 ft below the surface of the ocean. At night this scary fish monster swims up to shallower waters where prey is more plentiful!

Physical Characteristics: This spooky deep sea creature has a hinged lower jaw and long needle like fangs which wrap around behind it’s head. It’s skin color ranges between transparent, black , metallic blue/green, and silver. This fearsome deep sea hunter has a long dorsal spine that is densely packed with a photophore; a light-producing organ. These photophores can also be found (to a lesser extent) along the sides of the fish. Thankfully this frightful looking fish only grows to be about 24 inches in length.

Food: This ferocious looking creature feeds primarily on small fish and crustaceans. The light producing photophores on its dorsal spine are used as a fishing lure to attract prey. This process is known as bioluminescence. The over sized fangs and hinged skull, which can be rotated upwards for swallowing unusually large victims, prove very advantageous when hunting and consuming prey. The metabolic rate of this creature is quite low which means that it can go days without any food!

Fun Facts:

• The first vertebrae behind the viperfish’s head acts as a shock absorber for when it attacks large and forceful prey!

• The viperfish has been observed hanging completely still only dangling its flashing dorsal fin as a means to attract its prey!

• Scientists speculate that the viperfish’s  photophores also function as a means to communicate with and attract potential mates!

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