Night lights of the Caribbean
     Kryptophanaron alfredi



    Kryptophanaron alfredi is a species of fish that lives in the waters surrounding Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, and Florida (Colin et al. 1979).  You can read more about the habitat on the habitat page.  As mentioned in interactions, the photophore is an important part of the food acquiring process because it provides light for seeing prey in dark places.  The photophore is a light organ that appears in many marine animals. The luminosity in fish photophores is shown to occur because of an electric stimulation to the fish’s brain that make Porichthys illuminate in the fish (Herrish, 1982).

    In the Kryptophanaron alfredi, the light organ is located on the head of the fish, on the snout, slightly pertruding out and encapsulated by a cup shaped cartilaginous structure (Baldwin et al. 1995).  The light organ, called a photophore, is located directly under the eye, which is very large and is about one third the size of the fish's head (Colin et al., 1979). The photophore is able to control the light it emits in two different ways.  The first way is the photophore contains a structure, like a black sheet, that attaches to the bottom rim of the organ (Herrish, 1982).  It can move to cover the light organ and shield it from emitting light (Herrish, 1982).  The other way the photophore is able to shield light emission is by rotating the whole organ so that light is not shown outward and cannot be seen from the surface of the photophore (Herrish, 1982). The Kryptophanaron alfredi emits its light in a way that it appears to be flashing (Herrish, 1982).  The fish quickly alternating between emitting light and not emitting light by using the two mechanisms mentioned (Herrish, 1982).

    The Kryptophanaron alfredi lives deep in the ocean and has features that have made it more successful at living in these areas. The Kryptophanaron alfredi is very dark in color and has scales that cover its body but not its head (Baldwin et al. 1995).  There are visible spines on the head in addition to their fins (Baldwin et al. 1995).  The spines are likely to help the fish protect itself from predators.
Kryptophanaron alfredi
Figure 1. Sketch of K. alfredi depicting location of dorsal spines and photophore. (Modified from Silvester and Fowler. 1926) Kara Greenwood. 2013.

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