They are very small fishes found in oceans throughout the world: most species grow no longer than 10 cm, while those in the genus Vinciguerria only reach 4 cm or so.
They make up for their small size with abundant numbers: Vinciguerria is thought — with the possible exception of Cyclothone — to be the most abundant genus of vertebrates. Deep-sea trawls of the Humboldt Current in the southeast Pacific have found that lightfishes make up 85% by mass of mesopelagic fishes, with Vinciguerria lucetia by far the most numerous species.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Phosichthyidae" in FishBase. January 2006 version.
- "Phosichthyidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 March 2006.
- R. Cornejo, R. Koppelmann & T. Sutton. "Deep-sea fish diversity and ecology in the benthic boundary layer".
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