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Lanternfishes: Myctophiformes - Behavior And Reproduction

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesLanternfishes: Myctophiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Skinnycheek Lanternfish (benthosema Pterotum): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, LANTERNFISHES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION

Little is known about the behavior of lanternfishes. They move from middle depths into very shallow surface waters at night to feed and to lay their eggs. These surface waters, usually above 330 feet (100 meters), are rich in food. The trips up and down take about two hours each, depending on conditions such as solar eclipses, the degree of moon fullness, the clearness of the night sky, and the presence of strong currents.

Swimming behavior among lanternfishes takes two forms depending on the body type. Strong-bodied species swim in short bursts, propelled by rapid closing of the tail fin rays and a flick of the tail. In general, these fishes are the strongest migrators and move around for food. The flabby-bodied forms tend to move with a slow eel-like wriggling of the entire body. These species usually live in the deeper middle zone of the ocean and travel shorter distances.

In warmer waters, lanternfishes spawn year-round. In cooler waters they spawn once a year. Warm-water species live one year or less, whereas cooler-water species may live three or four years.

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