Lamp Fish, Panama Lanternfish
Pez Linterna, Sardina Luminosa
(Benthosema panamense)

Lamp Fish, Benthosema panamense: The Lamp Fish has a dark red brown coloration with enormous disproportionate eyes and a series of photophores along its sides and belly. It reaches a maximum length of 5.5 cm and is found in all tropical waters between 28 and 15 degrees North latitude and 115 and 78 degrees West longitude, including Mexico's Sea of Cortez.

The Lamp Fish is found in dense aggregations at night near the coast.

The Lamp Fish is a member of the Myctophidae Family of Lanternfishes known in Mexico as Linternillas.

Presently there are over 230 species from 32 genera of laternfishes known globally and a few are some of the most common fishes in the world. They are typically small, being less than 6 inches long, with silvery or black colorations and photophores (light producing organs) arranged in groups along their sides and bellies.

They are found worldwide in the mesopelagic (up to 650 feet deep) and bathypelagic (from 650 feet to 3,300 feet deep) zones. Many species vertically migrate each night towards the surface to feed. Some come all the way to the surface and can be attracted by bright lights and caught with a dipnet. They feed on zooplankton and reproduce via pelagic eggs and have live from 1 to 8 years. They are heavily preyed upon by many marine fishes and mammals.

Lamp Fish picture

Lamp Fish, Benthosema panamense: Length 6 cm (2.3 inches). Collection made of a live fish with a dipnet while fishing in April 2009 within the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

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