Saturday, April 12, 2014

Creature Feature #175: Dragonfish

What a horrifying creature of the deep! What a nightmare it must be to meet one of these whilst exploringthe ocean!

Well, unless you are a tiny fish, you have nothing to fear - for this deep sea denizen measures a mere 15 centimetres in length. Found at depths of 1,500 meters, her entire life is spent in near-permanent darkness and thus - like many of her ray-finned compatriots - she has developed some rather creative ways in which to capture her prey (although given her size, she's got many larger fish to fear). These take the form of bioluminescence - both in her barbel and along her length, as well as a patch beneath her eye. She uses her barbel as a lure, flashing it and waving it to tempt smaller fish into reach of her gaping mouth and fierce teeth. As a lot of her prey is also bioluminscent, her stomach is black-lined, so that the light cannot leak out and alert potential predators to her presence as she digests her meal.

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