Atlantic Silver Hatchetfish

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Out exploring the deep ocean for whales and dolphins today along Costa Adeje we found a tiny surprise – an Atlantic Silver Hatchetfish! These fish live in the deep ocean where there is very little light, only the blue spectrum which penetrates the deepest.

Living in such an environment the Atlantic Silver Hatchetfish has evolved some amazing physical attributes. It hunts mostly small crustaceans, like shrimp, so it has large fang like teeth to grasp and penetrate the thin shell of the shrimp.

This fish also hunts using unusually large eye balls that are on the top of its head – permanently looking upwards toward the surface. This allows it to discern its prey from the ambient light above it. As well, the eyes gauge the light intensity and spectrum of its surrounding waters – why?

Because for defence it matches the light from above with 2 rows of light producing organs on its belly! Yes – it makes light to ‘disappear’ from its predators lurking below in the water column.

While it looks like a ‘nightmare’ fish, it is tiny, about 6-7cm and with its unique physical adaptations to living in the deep ocean, it is a marvel that everyone was excited to find and examine on todays whale and dolphin watching tour along Costa Adeje, Tenerife.


About the Author:

We are a small group of Marine Biologists, Naturalists and Photographers living in Tenerife. When we don't have whale and dolphin watching tours you will find us out on the boat, exploring all the amazing marine wildlife of Costa Adeje, Tenerife. We love what we do, we support research and conservation projects and we hope you will join us.