The veiled anglemouth is a truly cosmopolitan fish that inhabits mid to deep waters,
ranging from 2005000 m, in the oceans of the world. It is one of the most
common fishes on the planet and, of all the fish in the deep Atlantic, over 80%
of them are veiled anglemouths! This species is less dominant in the deep realms
of the Pacific Ocean, where it comprises only 55% of individuals. With such a
staggering abundance, it is no surprise that the veiled anglemouth is a significant
component of the diet of many other fishes. It is also an important consumer of
copepods, a diverse group of tiny crustaceans.
The veiled anglemouth, also known as the small-eyed lanternfish, is easily recognized
by the patterning of its light organs absent on the chin and between the
gill openings, but present on the operculum, around the eye, the lower jaw, and
in rows along its belly. Scales run along its lateral line, while black star-shaped
pigment cells adorn its head, body, and fins.
The sex determination system in this fish is rather unusual; upon reaching a certain
size, males often switch sexes to become females. Whether males undergo this sex
reversal or not is dependent on the female density of the population if
females are rare, some males will make the switch. However, once a female, always
a female; there is no turning back!