Featured Image Credit: Hellinger 2017
The splitfin flashlight fish could not have been named more perfectly. Apparently, by just blinking… the fish can turn on or off their self-generated lights. WHAT?!
The scientifically named Anomalops katoptron, actually has the capability of stunning its prey with bright illumination. Divers have reported seeing the ultra bright light from up to 100 feet away. Now that’s impressive.
The chair of the department of Zoology and Neurobiology at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, Jens Hellinger, told Seeker, “I have observed Anomalops several times in the field and a thousand times in the lab and the luminescent light is definitely bright and impressive.”
The fish has large, bean-shaped organs under each eye that are filled with bioluminescent bacteria. When the fish blinks, the light turns on and off because the organ flips forward and backwards. Pretty simple? AND AWESOME!
Hellinger and his team are so fascinated with the fish’ ability that they have dedicated hours upon hours researching the important specimen on moonless nights. In a recent report published in the PLOS ONE journal, the team spotted the splitfin flashlight fish near Indonesia’s Banda Islands and counted that the fish blinked approximately 90 times during the span of one minute. They also described that the flashlight fish’ “on-mode” lasted significantly longer when potential prey were near by.
Hellinger hopes that the study will “shed-light” on the role of bioluminescence in the tropical reef systems.
In this case… pun intended!