Skinnycheek Lanternfish (benthosema Pterotum): Species Account
Physical characteristics: Skinnycheek lanternfish have a large head and very large eyes. They are among the smaller lanternfishes, reaching a maximum length of about 2 inches (5 centimeters). These fish are mirrorlike silver on the sides and belly and blue-black on the back.
Geographic range: Skinnycheek lanternfish live in the northern Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Pacific Ocean near Japan.
Habitat: Skinnycheek lanternfish live in open water in the middle depths of the ocean, near the continental shelf edges, and around islands.
Diet: Skinnycheek lanternfish eat crustacean plankton. As they grow larger, these fish eat larger crustaceans. They eat at night.
Behavior and reproduction: Skinnycheek lanternfish travel up and down in the water for feeding. They form extremely dense groups. In the northern Arabian Sea commercial open-water trawlers, or fishing boats using nets, have captured these fish at a rate of 88 tons (80 metric tons) per hour.
Female lanternfish can reproduce when they are about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) long. The eggs are fertlized (FUR-teh-lyzed), or united with the male's sperm, outside the female's body. Spawning occurs in the late afternoon and evening as the fish are traveling upward. Skinnycheek lanternfish release two hundred to three thousand eggs per batch, depending on body size. They spawn from the time they reach sexual maturity until death. These fish live slightly less than one year.
Skinnycheek lanternfish and people: Skinnycheek lanternfish are processed for fertilizer.
Conservation status: Skinnycheek lanternfish are not threatened or endangered. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Byatt, Andrew, Alastair Fothergill, and Martha Holmes. Blue Planet. New York: DK, 2001.
Niesen, Thomas M. The Marine Biology Coloring Book. 2nd ed. New York: HarperResource, 2000.
"Lanternfishes in General." Iziko: South African Museum. http://www.museums.org.za/sam/resources/marine/lantern.htm (accessed on October 4, 2004).
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