What the Fish? Episode 11: Feeding Frenzy
You Are What You Eat
Among fishes, the different types of food and the ways in which they are consumed are as incredibly varied as the fishes themselves. Some fishes are vegetarians, including the Piranha relative the Pacu, while others are ferocious carnivores, such as the African Tiger Fish. Fishes often have very specilized dentition and feeding structures depending on their source of food. For example, fishes that crush hard crustacean shells may have large boulder-like teeth. Filter feeding fishes, such as the Whale Shark seen below, have evolved fine filamentous structures to help sift through plankton. Overall, fishes eat almost anything you might find in an aquatic environment, and they do so efficiently!
Fish of the Week: Longnose Lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox)
Distribution: Circumglobal in all oceans
Size: Can reach lengths of nearly 7 ft long.
Fun Fact: Lancetfishes have large dorsal fins that are shaped like sails.
Lancetfishes are predominantly found at mesopelagic (below 1,000 m) to bathypelagic depths, in oceans worldwide. They are simultaneous hermaphrodites (can produce male and female sex cells at the same time) and ferocious predators. With their large eyes and greatly enlarged dagger-like palatine teeth, lancetfishes prey on other deep-sea fishes, crustaceans, and various cephalopods (e.g., squids). One of the most interesting features of lancetfishes are their enlarged sail-like dorsal fins.
So long, and thanks for all the fish!