The Viperfish is one of the most unusual fish to be found in the deep sea. The identity of this fish is its large mouth and sharp fang-like teeth. It is said that the fish uses these sharp fangs on its prey by stabbing it at high speeds. Fangs of this fish are so long that they cannot fit inside its mouth. They curve back very close to fish’s eyes. These fangs also help in holding the prey at dark sites.
Mother Nature has designed this very uniquely. The first vertebra of this fish, which is right behind its head works as a shock absorber.
The other unique feature which is very interesting about this fish is its long dorsal spine that is tipped with a photophore. Photopore is a light-producing organ. Viperfish is smart and uses photophore to attract its preys. The process of producing this light is called bioluminescence.
The main light organ is located at the end of the elongated dorsal fin ray, there are several photophores located all along the side of the fish. This prevents the fish from its predators by helping it to camouflage.
Photophores works both ways for the Viperfish as it makes the bottom side of the fish to blend perfectly with the faint light which is filtering down from above. This makes it difficult for predators to find it and at the same time attracts its preys.
Viperfish hangs itself motionless and allows photophores to work and get the prey closure. They have hinged skulls. This kind of skull helps them rotate their head upwards which makes swallowing of large preys easier. Viperfish are capable of stocking food in their large stomach. Viperfish primarily feed on the crustaceans and small fishes. Fish also uses this to communicate with potential mates.
Viperfish can live up to an age of 30 to 40 years in the wild however it loves its freedom and if it is captivated, it can barely survive for few hours.
They are very rarely seen by the humans due to their habitat. Only a few specimens are caught by the deep sea trawlers. This is the reason a lot is yet to be discovered about this species. Viperfish lives in bathypelagic (inhabiting the deep sea where the environment is dark and cold, between about 1000 to 3000 meters down) environment. It is said that the average temperature of these areas is around 4 Degrees Celsius.
Viperfish are thought to be engaging in daily vertical migrations. This is said because they have been seen in the mesopelagic (inhabiting the intermediate depths of the sea, between about 200 and 1000 meters down) region during the night. Mesopelagic regions lie just above the bathypelagic regions.