Slender Lanternfish, Lampanyctus tenuiformis
The Slender Lanternfish, Lampanyctus tenuiformis, whose common Spanish name is pez lámpara fino, is a member of the Lanternfish or Myctophidae Family, known collectively as linternillas in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Thin Lanternfish. Globally, there are twenty-two species in the genus Lampanyctus, twelve of which are found in Mexican waters, four in the Atlantic, six in the Pacific, and two in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.
The Slender Lanternfish have long rectangular bodies. They are reddish-brown with silvery patches. Their anal and dorsal fins are transparent. Their caudal fin is forked and dusky in color. Their head has a very short pointed snout, a slanted forehead, large eyes, a large mouth that extends well past the eyes, and thick lips. They have a limited number of randomly positioned photophores on their body and a prominent row of photophores ventrally. Their anal fin has 17 to 19 rays and their dorsal fin has 13 to 15 rays. They have no spines.
The Slender Lanternfish are a mesopelagic species found between 130 feet and 9,500 feet in the water column. They reach a maximum length of 15.6 cm (6.1 inches). They migrate vertically toward the surface at night to feed on zooplankton, then retreat toward the bottom at night to avoid predation. They are heavily preyed upon by numerous marine fish and mammals. Reproduction is oviparous with pelagic planktonic eggs and larvae. Although common, they are a poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Slender Lanternfish are found in all waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific.
The Slender Lanternfish, due to its body profile, cannot be confused with any other species.
The Slender Lanternfish are seldom seen by humans. Due to their small stature, they are of limited interest to most.
Slender Laternfish, Lampanyctus tenuiformis. Fish collected in a deep-water trawl net off Point Loma, CA, August 2010, by H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, Length: 11 cm (4.3 inches).