Flashlight fish
Overview
 
The flashlight fish are a family, the Anomalopidae, of beryciform
Beryciformes
Beryciformes is an order of ray-finned fishes. This is a very poorly understood group of 16 families, 57 genera, and about 219 species. Some people believe that it is probably an artificial assemblage of unrelated taxa that are thrown together for convenience only; there are no convincing...

 fish. There are some unrelated fish with similar features, some of which are also called flashlight fish. Notable among these are the deep sea
Deep sea fish
Deep sea fish is a term for any fish that lives below the photic zone of the ocean. The lanternfish is, by far, the most common deep sea fish. Other deep sea fish include the flashlight fish, cookiecutter shark, bristlemouths, anglerfish, and viperfish....

 lanternfish
Lanternfish
Cooper Lanternfishes are small mesopelagic fish of the large family Myctophidae. One of two families in the order Myctophiformes, the Myctophidae are represented by 246 species in 33 genera, and are found in oceans worldwide. They are aptly named after their conspicuous use of bioluminescence...

, of the family Myctophidae, of which there are over 200 species.

Flashlight fishes live in tropical waters across the world. Some species move to shallow waters or coral during the night, but otherwise, they are exclusively deep water fish.
Encyclopedia
The flashlight fish are a family, the Anomalopidae, of beryciform
Beryciformes
Beryciformes is an order of ray-finned fishes. This is a very poorly understood group of 16 families, 57 genera, and about 219 species. Some people believe that it is probably an artificial assemblage of unrelated taxa that are thrown together for convenience only; there are no convincing...

 fish. There are some unrelated fish with similar features, some of which are also called flashlight fish. Notable among these are the deep sea
Deep sea fish
Deep sea fish is a term for any fish that lives below the photic zone of the ocean. The lanternfish is, by far, the most common deep sea fish. Other deep sea fish include the flashlight fish, cookiecutter shark, bristlemouths, anglerfish, and viperfish....

 lanternfish
Lanternfish
Cooper Lanternfishes are small mesopelagic fish of the large family Myctophidae. One of two families in the order Myctophiformes, the Myctophidae are represented by 246 species in 33 genera, and are found in oceans worldwide. They are aptly named after their conspicuous use of bioluminescence...

, of the family Myctophidae, of which there are over 200 species.

Flashlight fishes live in tropical waters across the world. Some species move to shallow waters or coral during the night, but otherwise, they are exclusively deep water fish. They are typically about 14 centimetres (5.5 in) in adult length, although some species reach twice this size. They feed on small crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s.

Flashlight fish are named for their large bioluminescent
Bioluminescence
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Its name is a hybrid word, originating from the Greek bios for "living" and the Latin lumen "light". Bioluminescence is a naturally occurring form of chemiluminescence where energy is released by a chemical reaction in...

 organs. These are located beneath the eyes and contain luminous red bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

. Different species have an array of methods for shielding the light to escape from predators. The light is used to attract prey, and for communication.

Classification

The family contains eight species, in six genera:

Family Anomalopidae
  • Genus Anomalops
    • Splitfin flashlightfish, Anomalops katoptron, found in the warm waters of the western Pacific Ocean, sometimes in the very deep ocean trenches.
  • Genus Kryptophanaron
    • Atlantic flashlightfish, Kryptophanaron alfredi, found in the Caribbean
  • Genus Parmops
    • Parmops coruscans, found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and as far west as Tahiti and the Society Islands.
    • Parmops echinatus, found in the Western Pacific Ocean, and as far east as Fiji.
  • Genus Photoblepharon
    • Eyelight fish  Photoblepharon palpebratum
    • Common flashlight fish Photoblepharon steinitzi (sometimes regarded as a subspecies
      Subspecies
      Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

       of P. palpebratusis), found in the Red Sea and eastern Indian Ocean
  • Genus Phthanophaneron
    • Gulf flashlightfish, Phthanophaneron harveyi, found in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California
  • Genus Protoblepharon
    • Cook Islands flashlightfish, Protoblepharon rosenblatti, found near the Cook Islands

Unrelated "flashlight fish"

Lanternfish sometimes known as flashlight fish include:
  • Chubby flashlight fish Electrona risso, found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

     and the Mediterranean Sea
    Mediterranean Sea
    The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

  • Spotted lantern fish Myctophum punctatum, found in deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea
    Mediterranean Sea
    The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

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