Sloane's viperfish

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Sloane’s viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) is a predatory, mesopelagic dragonfish found in deep-pelagic waters across the world.[1] The species was first described by German scientists Marcus Elieser Bloch and Johann Gottlob Schneider in their 1801 book Systema ichthyologiae: iconibus CX illustratum, volume 1.[2] Its size can range from 22 mm to 220 mm,[3] and it is an iridescent silver-blue color.[4] It has two rows of photophores, one on each side of the ventral part of its body.[4]

Sloane's viperfish
Chauliodus sloani Gervais.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Stomiiformes
Family: Stomiidae
Genus: Chauliodus
Species: C. sloani
Binomial name
Chauliodus sloani
Bloch & J. G. Schneider, 1801

Taxonomy[edit]

C. sloani is part of the Chauliodus genus, which includes all viperfish. Viperfish are deep-sea fish with photophores (light-producing organs), long teeth, and hinged jaws.[4] There are nine other species in the genus, including C. danae and C. pammelas, both of which appear alongside C. sloani in primary literature.[3][5] C. sloani is distinguished from other Chauliodus species by its range and the size of its teeth, which are large relative to its body even for the daggerfish.

Distribution[edit]

C. sloani is found in tropical and temperate waters. It is widespread in the Atlantic Ocean and the western Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Indian and Pacific oceans.[4]

In the Atlantic, its latitudinal range is from 35°N - 55°N, with highest abundance around 45°N.[3] In the Arabian Sea, its range is primarily south of 10°N.[5] It generally stays at depths from 200 m - 1000 m, both day and night, in contrast to C. danae, whose individuals exhibit diurnal migration.[3] Some small individuals of C. sloani also exhibit some limited diurnal migration.[3] Larger individuals tend to live farther north.[3]

In the central Mediterranean Sea, C. sloani is eaten as a primary part of the diet of the Atlantic bluefin tuna.[6]

Jaw Anatomy[edit]

The primary feature of interest in C. sloani is its enormous teeth. When the jaw is closed, the teeth fit together to form a cage in which prey can be trapped.[7] Its jaw can be unhinged, allowing it to open its mouth up to 90° to catch prey up to 63% its own body size.[7] Its teeth, however, are fixed in place, attached firmly to the jawbone rather than being depressible like in some other fish species.[7] The immobility of its huge teeth requires it to be able to open its jaw so wide. Also helping with jaw expansion is the fact that its mouth does not have a floor.[7]

The size, shape, location, and number of teeth are consistent across individuals of C. sloani, and each fang is highly specialized.[7] C. sloani likely lures prey to its mouth with its photophore, or by arching its long dorsal ray to dangle in front of its mouth.[7] The foremost premaxillary tooth, which is relatively straight and has sharp ridges, may then be used to wound larger prey.[7] The curved second premaxillary tooth is thought to be used like a dagger, retaining larger prey.5 All teeth come together into a cage to retain smaller prey.[7]

Diet[edit]

C. sloani is a major consumer of myctophidae, or lanternfish, having a significant effect on their population in the Arabian Sea.[5] An average C. sloani individual probably consumes at least one lanternfish every twelve days.[5] However, they are not picky in their diet - they also eat other fish, eggs, and algae.[3] This is another thing that distinguishes them from the C. danae, which feeds mainly on crustaceans.[3]

Original Description[edit]

Following is the original description of the species, from page 430 of Bloch and Schneider (1801), in Latin.[2]

CHAULIODUS: Dentes in utraque maxilla praelongi, exserti, rictus perpendicularis.

Sloani: Corpus elongatum, tenue, alepidotum viride, caput trunco latius, rictus amplus, dentes acuti discreti, apice incurvo, maxilla inferior superiorem pyxidatim claudit, oculi supremi, pinnae pectorales infimae, acuminatae, ventrales fere mediae inter pectorales et analem, dorsalis capiti, analis caudali vicina, radius primus dorsalis elongatus, setaceus. Habitat in mari Atlantico Gades alluente, sesquipedalis, latus 2 ½ pollices.

The book can be accessed in full at no cost on Google Books.

References[edit]

  1. Eytan, Ron; Paulus, E.; Weber, M.; and Sutton, Tracey, "DEEPEND: Once Bitten, Twice Shy: A Cryptic Species of Sloane's Viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) Discovered in the Mesopelagic Waters of the Gulf of Mexico" (2017). Oceanography Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures. 452.
  2. Bloch, M. E., & Schneider, J. G. (1801). Systema ichthyologiae: iconibus CX illustratum (Vol. 1). Auctor.
  3. van Utrecht, W. V. U. C. (1987). Growth and seasonal variations in distribution of Chaulidous sloani and C. danae (Pisces) from the mid North Atlantic. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 57(2), 164-182.
  4. Whitehead, P. J. P., Bauchot, M. L., Hureau, J. C., Nielsen, J., & Tortonese, E. (1984). Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, volume 1. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  5. Butler, M., Bollens, S. M., Burkhalter, B., Madin, L. P., & Horgan, E. (2001). Mesopelagic fishes of the Arabian Sea: distribution, abundance and diet of Chauliodus pammelas, Chauliodus sloani, Stomias affinis, and Stomias nebulosus. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 48(6-7), 1369-1383.
  6. Battaglia, P., Andaloro, F., Consoli, P., Esposito, V., Malara, D., Musolino, S., ... & Romeo, T. (2013). Feeding habits of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus (L. 1758), in the central Mediterranean Sea (Strait of Messina). Helgoland marine research, 67(1), 97.
  7. Greven, H., Walker, Y., & Zanger, K. (2009). On the structure of teeth in the viperfish Chauliodus sloani Bloch & Schneider, 1801 (Stomiidae). Bulletin of Fish Biology Volume, 11(1/2), 87-98.
Notes
  1. ^ Eytan, Ron; Paulus, E.; Weber, M.; and Sutton, Tracey, "DEEPEND: Once Bitten, Twice Shy: A Cryptic Species of Sloane's Viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) Discovered in the Mesopelagic Waters of the Gulf of Mexico" (2017). Oceanography Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures. 452.
  2. ^ a b Bloch, M. E., & Schneider, J. G. (1801). Systema ichthyologiae: iconibus CX illustratum (Vol. 1). Auctor.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h van Utrecht, W. V. U. C. (1987). Growth and seasonal variations in distribution of Chaulidous sloani and C. danae (Pisces) from the mid North Atlantic. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 57(2), 164-182.
  4. ^ a b c d Whitehead, P. J. P., Bauchot, M. L., Hureau, J. C., Nielsen, J., & Tortonese, E. (1984). Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, volume 1. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  5. ^ a b c d Butler, M., Bollens, S. M., Burkhalter, B., Madin, L. P., & Horgan, E. (2001). Mesopelagic fishes of the Arabian Sea: distribution, abundance and diet of Chauliodus pammelas, Chauliodus sloani, Stomias affinis, and Stomias nebulosus. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 48(6-7), 1369-1383.
  6. ^ Battaglia, P., Andaloro, F., Consoli, P., Esposito, V., Malara, D., Musolino, S., ... & Romeo, T. (2013). Feeding habits of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus (L. 1758), in the central Mediterranean Sea (Strait of Messina). Helgoland marine research, 67(1), 97.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Greven, H., Walker, Y., & Zanger, K. (2009). On the structure of teeth in the viperfish Chauliodus sloani Bloch & Schneider, 1801 (Stomiidae). Bulletin of Fish Biology Volume, 11(1/2), 87-98.
Messina Straits Chauliodus sloani.jpg