Apart from being one scary deep sea animal, viperfish is also known as a ferocious hunter. Its overgrown fang-like teeth usually make it instantly recognizable among other deep sea fish. As the teeth cannot fit into its mouth, they curve back on the outside, giving the viperfish its distinctive deep sea monster appearance.
Varying in size from 12 - 24 inches (30 to 60 cm), viperfish can be found up to 5,000 ft (1,500 m) below the sea surface with some specimens located in shallower waters at depths of around 250 ft (75 m). They are usually dark blue or grey in color, but some types of viperfish are actually transparent, which helps in both hunting and hiding from predators. Similarly to anglerfish, this carnivore has an elongated dorsal spine with a light-emitting organ called photophore.
When hunting, viperfish is known to float motionless for hours, waving it’s luring light to attract other deep sea animals such as the dragonfish. Once the victim is close enough, viperfish swims at it at high speed, piercing it’s prey with deadly sharp teeth. The hinged skull and large stomach allow it to swallow and stockpile unusually large meals. Along with effective hunting, this is crucial for survival as food is scarce and hunting opportunities don’t come very often in viperfish habitat.
Viperfish has an expected lifespan of 30 to 40 years, but cannot survive more than a few hours in captivity due to intense pressure changes. It is also known to become prey of several shark and dolphin species. Despite it’s frightening appearance, this predator is not a threat to humans due to it’s smaller size. Viperfish can be located in tropical and temperate waters worldwide.