Malacosteus niger

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Northern stoplight loosejaw
Malacosteus niger 1.jpg
Conservation status
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Stomiiformes
Family: Stomiidae
Genus: Malacosteus
Species: M. niger
Binomial name
Malacosteus niger
Ayres, 1848

The northern stoplight loosejaw (Malacosteus niger) is a species of barbeled dragonfish. The postorbital photophore in this species is larger than in M. australis. It also differs in lateral photophore count, as well as in morphological characters. The maximum known length is 25.6 cm (10.1 in). Its specific epithet niger is Latin for "black".[1]

M. niger occurs in the mesopelagic zone of all oceans.[2] Contrary to barbeled dragonfishes in general, it is not a vertical migrator. While the morphology of M. niger with huge fangs and an enormous gape (as it common names testifies) is typical for its family and suggests adaptations to piscivory, its diet in fact contains a substantial proportion of zooplankton.[3] It is suggested that its dominant feeding mode is searching for zooplanktonic prey (copepods in particular) using bioluminescence to illuminate a small search area, with infrequent encounters with larger prey items. The likely origin of the pigment necessary for detecting its long wavelength bioluminescence are copepods themselves.[3]


  1. ^ Kenaley, C.P (2007). "Revision of the Stoplight Loosejaw Genus Malacosteus (Teleostei: Stomiidae: Malacosteinae), with Description of a New Species from the Temperate Southern Hemisphere and Indian Ocean". Copeia 2007 (4): 886–900. doi:10.1643/0045-8511(2007)7[886:ROTSLG]2.0.CO;2. 
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Malacosteus niger" in FishBase. February 2012 version.
  3. ^ a b Sutton, T. T. (2005). "Trophic ecology of the deep-sea fish Malacosteus niger (Pisces: Stomiidae): An enigmatic feeding ecology to facilitate a unique visual system?". Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 52 (11): 2065–2013. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2005.06.011.  edit