Life in the Deep
Here's an up close and personal view of the wicked-looking Viper fish (Chauliodus macouni). Check out the teeth and the big eyes on this guy! Viper fish (found at 80-1600 meters - about a mile down) are some of the most wicked looking fish in the depths. They also have enlarged eyes, presumably for gathering as much light as possible where there is little or no light at all. Biologists speculate that these horrific-looking teeth and jaws are an adaptation to living in the low-energy environment of the deep sea. Food is extremely scarce in the deep sea environment, so the fish that live here have developed extremely deadly jaws to ensure that prey they capture in their jaws has no way to escape. (photo courtesy of Paul Yancey, Biology Dept., Whitman College, Walla Walla Washington)
A Fangtooth - despite its scary-looking face, fangtooth fish are pretty small fish. The biggest ones only grow to about 6 inches long. They are some of the deepest living fish in the sea, having been seen as far down as 16,000 feet deep. Adult fangtooths (fang teeth?) have an interesting adaptation for living with those giant fangs; they have holes, or sinuses, in their upper jaws and skulls that their bottom teeth fit into when their mouths are closed. They use those ferocious fangs to hunt for other fish and squid, which can be very fast and tricky to catch. They don't have any special lights or lures like the viper fish, so they move about 'blindly' in the darkness of the deep sea, basically grabbing onto whatever they run into in the dark - even if it's bigger than they are! The fangooth holds the world record for the largest teeth in the ocean (relative to body size).
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