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Dragonfishes and Relatives: Stomiiformes

Physical Characteristics

Dragonfishes and their relatives are famous for having large mouths filled with enormous fanglike teeth. This feature allows the fish to efficiently capture large prey, or animals hunted and killed for food. In some cases, the prey are larger than the predator, or animal that hunts and kills other animals for food. Drag-onfishes and their relatives are about 0.5 to 20 inches (1.3 to 51 centimeters) long. Some species have long, thin bodies, and others are deep-bodied and narrow from side to side.

All but one species of dragonfishes produce light. At the end of chin barbels (BAR-buhls), or long, thin feelers used for the senses of taste, touch, and smell, these fishes have bulblike glowing organs that are thought to serve as lures to other fish. These barbels range in size from less than head length to as much as ten times the length of the fish. Some of these fishes also have rows of light-producing organs along the sides of the body.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesDragonfishes and Relatives: Stomiiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Dragonfishes, Their Relatives, And People, Viperfish (chauliodus Sloani): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS