Wild Fact #886 – This Fish is Fangtastic – Viperfish

I apologize to everyone for the disturbing picture above but I can’t help it if that is what a Viperfish looks like. Doesn’t this fish look like something straight out of a horror movie.  I figured I would end our Deep Sea Adventure on an interesting but frightening note.  It is probably a good time for us to get out of the water with fish like this swimming around.  Don’t worry, next week we will be on land, but is that safe?

As I mentioned, the final fact of the week will be on the Viperfish which is also known as the Fangfish.  I wonder how it got that alternative name? The viperfish is usually a dark silvery blue colour and only about 30 cm (12 inches) long.  Don’t let the small size of this fish fool you though as it was designed to be a predator. In fact, the fangfish is one of the most fierce predators of the deep sea. So what do I mean when I say it was designed to be a predator? Well, I mean evolution built this fish to eat other fish.  For starters, we will look at their teeth.  The viperfish has a large mouth with very large and very sharp teeth.  In fact, their teeth are so big that they don’t actually fit in their mouth. These fangs curve back and extend close to their eye. The viperfish will use these teeth by swimming at full speed towards their prey and simply impaling them with their fangs.  The first vertebrae of this fish is designed to absorb the force it sustains from swimming into their prey at high speeds.  I told you that evolution hand picked the traits to make the viperfish an effective killer.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, the fangfish uses bio-luminescence to attract their prey to them. Similar to the Anglerfish, these guys have a light attached to an extended fin ray which they can flicker off and on.  As well, they have tiny photophores on the sides of their body.  These lights basically invite the other fish in the area to come and see what is happening.  I promise you they will regret that decision.

Well this seems like a really good time to get our feet out of the water.  Let’s take a break and head for the land on Monday.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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