6 Glowing Alien Fish in the Deep Sea

From Fluorescent Viperfish and Bioluminescent Catsharks to Glowing Anglerfish and Genetically Modified Glofish. These are 6 Glowing Alien Fish in the Deep Sea.

6. GloFish

Let’s start off this article about fish that glow, with GloFish! They are a patented and trademarked brand of genetically engineered fluorescent fish.

The first fluorescent zebrafish were created at the National University of Singapore in 1999, by scientists trying to make a fish that would detect pollution by glowing in toxic waters. They combined the zebrafish embryo with genes that encode fluorescent proteins from jellyfish and sea coral.

Yorktown Technologies, a company from Austin, Texas, bought the worldwide marketing rights to the fluorescent fish and in 2003, introduced the GloFish in the United States. It is the first and only genetically engineered animal to be publicly available and can only be found in the US.

5. Stoplight Loosejaw

At number 5, we have the first naturally glowing fish on our list, the Stoplight Loosejaw. A type of barbeled dragonfish, it lives in the mesopelagic areas of all oceans. The mesopelagic zone is between 200 and 1000 metres below the surface of the water.

Sunrays usually stop well before the 1 kilometre mark so creatures living here need to adapt to the darkness. Like our loosejaw, who lurks below the waters looking for zooplankton, with its huge mouth wide open, while using bioluminescence to look for Copepods, its favourite food.

It is called a Stoplight Loosejaw because it has two big photophores, one red and one green and they look like the colors on a traffic stoplight.

Due to the way light travels and dissipates in deep water, the red photophore allows it to see prey without being detected. They are also called rat-trap fish because of the unusual open structure of their jaws.

4. Cookiecutter Shark

Moving on to the Cookiecutter Shark, or the Cigar Shark, an oceanic fish that likes to swim at depth of over 3 kilometres below the water.

The name “cookiecutter shark” refers to its feeding habit of gouging round plugs, as if cut out with a cookie cutter, out of larger animals.

Marks made by cookiecutter sharks have been found on a wide variety of marine mammals and fishes, as well as on submarines, undersea cables, and even human bodies.

But the Cookiecutter Shark also glows in the dark, one of the most glowing of all fish, it’s bioluminescence persists up to 3 hours after being out of water.

The photophores are strategically places on its underside to disrupt the light coming from above, confusing predators and hiding it’s real silhouette.

3. Lanternfish

This method of camouflaging yourself with light is also used by the the Lantern Fish. A species of small, deep water fish, it is one of the most widely distributed fish. It is estimated that 65% of the oceans biomass are Lanternfish, with 246 species discovered so far.

Small fish, they are between 2 and 30 centimetres long, although most of them stay well under 15 centimetres.

They are masters of disguise, using their bioluminescence and counterillumination to confuse predators and mask themselves on the bottoms of the oceans. Thy also have gas bladders that confuse other fish that use echolocation or sonars.

2. Viperfish

Next we take a closer look at the Viperfish. They are between 30 and 60 centimetres long and live in tropical and temperate waters and swim at great depths, 1500 metres below sea level during the day and down to 4000 metres during the night.

They have snake like bodies and long, needle like teeth, and they are really ugly. They are predatory fish and feed on almost anything they gets their teeth into. The Viperfish has 3 types of photophores on its body, used mainly to attract prey.

They have microscopic spheres all over their dorsal side, large spheres with pigment, reflector and lens, and finally, large, bell shaped organs grouped together along the dorsal surface.

Although it may look like the viperfish is covered in scales, it is in fact covered by a thick, transparent coating of an unknown substance.

1. Anglerfish

And at number one, probably the most famous and bizzare glowing fish, the Anglerfish. There are many types of Anglerfish, all over the globe, living at a variety of depths.

But what all Anglerfish species have in common are their huge mouths full of razor sharp teeth and the esca, a fleshy growth on their heads, that houses light producing bacteria, and acts like bait for their prey, luring them straight into the fishs mouth. Anglerfish are a delicacy.

Some Anglerfish species are a source of food. In North America, Europe and East-Asia, Goosefish are widely used in cooking and is often compared to a lobster tail in taste and texture. In Asia, especially in Korea and Japan, the liver of the Monkfish is considered a delicacy.

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