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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Pacific Blackdragon Idiacanthus antrostomus

The Pacific blackdragon haunts the depths of the ocean, its black snake-like body lit up by photophores along its belly. When it opens its mouth, it reveals a set of long, dagger-sharp teeth. Hanging off the lower jaw is a barbel tipped by a glowing lure that can be moved to entice prey to venture within reach.

The Pacific blackdragon is black on the inside as well as the outside, its black stomach preventing light from swallowed bioluminescent prey shining out. Male Pacific blackdragons are only about a quarter the size of the females. In the closely related species Idiacanthus fascicola, the young fish are similar in shape to the adults, but their eyes stick out on very long stalks. The stalks are absorbed as the fish grows and the eyes eventually come to lie in their sockets.

Pacific Blackdragonzoom image
  • Order Stomiiformes
  • Length Up to 15 in (38 cm)
  • Weight Up to 2 oz (55 g)
  • Depth 650–3,300 ft (200–1,000 m)
  • Distribution Deep, tropical and temperate waters of eastern Pacific
Pacific Blackdragon habitat mapzoom image