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Phthanophaneron harveyi
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Phthanophaneron harveyi
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0

Main identification features
  • prominent light organ under eye


The flashlight or lanterneye fishes are relatives of the squirrelfishes (Holocentridae). Their most important distinguish feature is the presence of a light organ beneath the eye that has a rotational shutter mechanism that allows its light emission to be controlled. The light organ is composed of a series of tubes that contain luminous bacteria. During night forays the fishes turn on the lights intermittently, presumably to attract photo- positive planktonic food and to also establish and maintain contact with conspecifics. Other characteristic features include a spinous dorsal fin, containing II-VI spines, that is continuous with the soft portion of the fin or is strongly notched, an anal fin with II-III spines, and short subocular shelf.

This small family contains three genera and seven species. This tropical, Indo-Pacific group was reviewed by McCosker and Rosenblatt (1987), but since then an additional genus and species was described from the Society Islands, bringing the total to seven species in five genera. Only a single genus and species is known from our area. They are small fishes, mostly under 10 cm, although Anomalops from the Indo-West Pacific may reach 30 cm. They are nocturnally active, emerging from shelter at dusk to feed. Daytime retreats include deep crevices and caves.

  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versión 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo .  Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservación Internacional.
  • Johnson , G. D. and Rosenblatt, R. H., 1988., Mechanisms of ligh organ occlusion in flashlight fishes, family Anomalopidae (Teleostei: Beryciformes), and the evolution of the group., Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 94:65-96.
  • Love, M.S., Mecklenburg, C.W., Mecklenburg, T.A., Thorsteinson, L.K., 2005., es of the West Coast and Alaska: a checklist of North Pacific and Artic Ocena species from Baja California to the Alaska-Yukon border., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 288pp.
  • Nelson, J.S., 1984., Fishes of the World (Third edition)., John Wiley and Sons:523pp.
  • Rosenblatt , R.H. and Montgomery, L.W., 1976., Kryptophaneron harveyi, a new anomalopid fish from the eastern tropical Pacific, and the evolution of the Anomalopidae., Copeia, 1976(3):510-515.
  • Thomson , D.A. , Findley , L.T. and Kerstitch, A.N., 2000., Reef fishes of the Sea of Cortez., University of Texas Press(Revised Ed.):353.


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