Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
Common Fangtooth Anoplogaster cornuta
The huge, saberlike teeth of the deep-water common fangtooth are designed to grab and hold onto other fish that may be as big as it is. The teeth are no good for cutting or chewing and so the common fangtooth swallows its prey whole, rather like a snake does. Adults are uniformly black or dark brown in color and can live as deep as 16,000 ft (5,000 m), but they are most common between 1,600–6,500 ft (500 and 2,000 m). Common fangtooths hunt by themselves or in small shoals, searching for other fish to eat. Juvenile common fangtooths look very different from the adults and were classified as a separate species until 1955. They are light gray in color and have long spines on the head. They live in water as shallow as 160 ft (50 m) and feed mainly on crustaceans.
Adult females shed their eggs directly into the sea, where they develop into planktonic larvae. Juvenile common fangtooths take on the adult shape when they are about 3 in (8 cm) long.