Viperfish a perfect Halloween dragonfish

Sloane’s viperfish, Chauliodus sloani, is a dragonfish of the genus Chauliodus, found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, at depths down to 2,500 m. Their length is between 20 and 35 cm.

Sloane’s viperfish is an elongate fish with a body that tapers from its bulbous blunt head to its tail. It has a large mouth, long fang-like teeth the longest being almost half the length of the head itself, and the second ray of the first dorsal fin can be up to half its body length. This ray has a luminous tip and is used as a lure. The second dorsal fin, and a ventral fin, are adipose.

They are silvery blue-green in color with five rows of hexagonal pigmented areas on both sides of the body, each covered with a thin scale. There are photophores around the eyes and on the head, at the bases of the lower fin rays, two small photophores under each scale, and two rows of large light organs along the lower part of the body.

At night it swims up into shallower depths of less than 600 metres where food is more plentiful. Sloane’s viperfish feed on small fishlike pearlsides (Maurolicus muelleri).


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