Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Viper Fish

Known for its large mouth, long fang-like teeth, Viper fish is one of the most furious slayers of the sea. In fact the fangs of the viper fish are so large that they even do not fit in its mouth, rather they curve back near its eyes. These fangs are helpful to viper fish in tearing and spearing through its prey.

The Viper fish possess the capability to swim at much high speeds thereby hardly leaving any scope for its prey to escape. The first vertebra of viper fish, located right behind its skull, helps it in same by acting as a shock absorber.

The viper fish has its own unique way to attract and catch the prey. It produces light in it by using its long dorsal spine that stays tipped with a photophore. It actually stays motionless at some chosen destination in the water with its light flashing on and off. It is when the small fishes get attracted to these flashing lights, the viper fish comes in to the action and catches its prey.

Further, the viper fishes have a large stomach, so as to store the food, to be used later when needed. Also, they can rotate their hinged skull so as to swallow the large prey.

A viper fish in general, has an iridescent dark silver-blue color in life with pale fins. Its size varies from fish to fish, though it can grow itself up to a length of 30 cm. A viper fish can generally be seen in the deep sea, at around 500 m to 2500 m depth during the day time. However, due to the higher availability of the prey at shallower heights during nights, they swim up to the heights even lesser than 60 m. They are known for their capability to migrate vertically in to the water, and high sped swimming capability.

A viper fish generally feed on crustaceans and small fishes. However, it may feed on other sea animals during scarcity of food.

Further, a viper fish may be seen attracting other male viper fishes by using the photophores. These are basically the hexagonal pigmented areas that are present all along the sides of its body. A viper fish generally reproduces by spawning externally.

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