Fangtooth is the name of a family of beryciform fish inhabiting the deep ocean. They appear to be present throughout the world, in both tropical and temperate zones.
Scientists currently recognize only two species of Fangtooth. Yet, very little seems clear about their reproductive cycle, except for the fact that their larvae appear planktonic in nature.
Residing near the surface, they remain easy prey for other species. As they mature, they descend to deeper regions. Scientists believe them to perhaps be a slow-growing species, as most species of fish in the deep sea tend to be.
Fangtooth Physical Characteristics
The most noticeable feature of this fish remains their extraordinarily long, fang-like teeth, hence their common name. In fact, relative to their body size, they have the longest teeth of any known living creature.
Despite their fearsome appearance, the Fangtooth actually represents a small species. The larger of the two species attains a maximum length of roughly 7 in (18 cm). The eyes stay small and sit high on the head which gives the fish a terrifying, almost alien-like look.
When the mouth closes, the enormous lower fangs actually fit into a specially evolved socket on either side of the small brain.
Further, the entire body predominantly displays a dark brown color.
Fangtooth Habitat and Ecology
Fangtooth is a pelagic family of fish. They possess one of the widest known ranges of habitat depth – one between 660-16,400 ft (200-5,000 m). Also, the younger the individual, the shallower the depths at which they reside.
The animal typically will rise closer to the surface at night, to feed by starlight, and will then return to deeper waters in the evening.
They spend their lives either singly or in small groups.
The juveniles feed principally on plankton while the mature Fangtooth mainly preys on small fish and cephalopods.
These fish, in turn, serve as primary prey for sharks, tuna, and marlin.