Glacier lanternfishes are small (10 cm), with elongate, flattened bodies, and
large heads and eyes. Existing mostly in the lightless depths, glacier lanternfish
have little need for bright pigmentation and, thus, have dark brown backs and
silvery sides. Their fins also lack colour and are all soft-rayed, except the
adipose fin, which is fleshy. Their large, heavy scales may provide some protection
from predators. Males have a small light organ (photophore) above the caudal fin,
while females have two small organs below the caudal fin. These photphores presumably
emit flashes of light that may function to attract predators to the tail, allowing
the fish to escape. However, the differences between the sexes suggests that the
light may also be used in mate location or courtship.
Glacier lanternfishes are found from western Greenland and the Davis Strait, south
to the Scotian Shelf. In Atlantic Canada, they are the most common member of the
lanternfish family. They prefer waters between 4°C and 16°C, and depths
between 146 m and 530 m, with older fish found at greater depths than younger
fish. Spawning takes place in the spring or summer. Sexual maturity is reached
at 2 years of age and they only live about 4 years, feeding on planktonic crustaceans.
Little else is known about the behaviour of this fish.