Viperfish: Characteristics, habitats, reproduction and more….

If you want to become a true marine species expert, then don´t miss this chance to learn all about the viperfish or Chauliodus sloani in scientifc terms.

This very weird-looking fish is also one of the fierest and  most popular  marine species.  The species was first described by the German scientists Marcus Elieser Bloch and Johann Gottlob Schneider in their 1801 book Systema ichthyologiae: iconibus CX illustratum


Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata  Class: Actinopterygii (bony fish)  Order: Stomiiformes  Family: Stomiidae Genus Chauliodus.

The genus Chauliodus includes all viper fish which are deep-sea fish with photophores (ligth- producing organs), long teeth and jaws with hinges. There are nine other species in the genus, including C. danae and C. pammelas.



Chauliodus, which also derives from the Greek, means “big tooth” or “toothed”  refers to the species that have the front teeth curved backwards.

The ViperFish’s Main Characteristics

This species has a thin, elongated body with a slightly dark silver color. Moreover, their large mouth and sharp, fang-like teeth represent other of their distinctive traits.  In fact, these teeth are so large that don´t fit inside the viperfish’s mouth; hence they curve back very close to the fish’s eyes. It´s believed that such teeth represent their main weapon to catch preys.

But that’s not the end of the story about these strange fish, since their most striking feature are their bioluminescent organs (photophores) inside their body (around 350), located on their belly and at the end of a fin. These structures are believed to be used to attract their prey.As for their size, it´s around 11 or 12 inches (30 centimeters) in length, hence they are tiny compared with their fearsome appearance.

viperfish: a stunning 3d viperfish model.

The ViperFish’s Habitat and Customs.

Viper fish can live either in tropical or temperate waters, at depths ranging from 200 to 4700 m, with an average temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.  They are characterized by making vertical migratory asynchronous movements to eat during the night, although not all the specimens make them. Larger individuals can live deeper than smaller ones.

How the ViperFish Reproduces?

Due to the depths where it inhabits, very little is known about its reproductive habits. However, it’s believed that they are external spawners, so the female releases eggs into the water to be fertilized. Spawning occurs the whole year (especially between January and March), the larvae measuring around 6 millimeters long when they hatch. As for their life span, it ranges between 12 and 28 years in the wild, and few hours in captivity.

What Does TheViperfish Eat?

The Viperfish swim very fast towards their prey (little fish varieties like squid, shrimp, anchovies and crabs) which they grab employing their sharp teeth. Moreover, when they catch very big prey they swallow them by turning their hinged skull.

Geographical Distribution and Conservation Status

Viper fish have worldwide distribution, since they are present practically in all the oceans. The IUCN classifies this species as of minor concern, mainly because of its low commercial value, although the population’s trend is unknown. They are occasionally caught accidentally in trawl fishing.

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