Light to Hide by: Ventral Luminescence to Camouflage the Silhouette

  title={Light to Hide by: Ventral Luminescence to Camouflage the Silhouette},
  author={John Woodland Hastings},
  pages={1016 - 1017}
The so-called pony fish of the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific region can emit light from a broad area of its ventral surface. An experimental analysis of this luminescent system supports the hypothesis that it functions by emitting light during the daytime, which matches the background light and thereby obscures the silhouette of the animal. 
Bioluminescence of lantern fish (Myctophidae) in response to changes in light intensity
Photometric measurements of myctophid bioluminescent responses to light levels comparable with those occurring in their environment are reported.
Camouflage by Disruptive Illumination in Leiognathids, a Family of Shallow-Water, Bioluminescent Fishes
The ventral illumination behavior of leiognathids, with their associated morphology, is compared and contrasted with the counterillumination systems that have been described in a number of mesopelagic fishes, shrimps and squids.
Field Evidence for Bioluminescent Signaling in the Pony Fish, Leiognathus elongatus
These observations provide field evidence that the luminescence functions as intraspecific communications in L. elongatus, and are likely to be male and female, respectively.
Cryptic Bioluminescence in a Midwater Shrimp
The mesopelagic shrimp Sergestes similis emits ventrally directed bioluminescence that closely matches the intensity of downward-directed illumination and is able to rapidly modify its light output
The Luminescent Systems of Pony Fishes
The anatomy of bioluminescent organs and mode of light production in 18 species of pony fish have been investigated using fresh and preserved material and a simple classification of the luminescent systems is proposed.
Bioluminescent countershading in midwater animals: evidence from living squid.
The results strongly support the theory of ventral bioluminescent countershading, which states that the squid are invisible when the intensity of the photophores matches theintensity of the overhead illumination.
A synchronized rhythmic flashing light display by schooling Leiognathus splendens (Leiognathidae : Perciformes)
A spectacular light display in schooling Leiognathus splendens in the field at Ambon, Indonesia is recorded, markedly increasing underwater visibility for a human observer.
Functional morphology of the luminescence system of Siphamia versicolor (Perciformes: Apogonidae), a bacterially luminous coral reef fish
Observations suggest that S. versicolor uses ventral luminescence to attract and feed on zooplankton from the reef benthos at twilight and to exploit for feeding the gap at twilight in the presence of potential predators as the reef transitions from diurnallyactive to nocturnally active organisms.
Fishes of the family Lciognathidae, popularly called ponyfishes, are represented by more than 30 species in the coastal waters of Indo-Pacific region (Weber and de Beaufort, 1931; Tiews and Caces -
Light for All Reasons: Versatility in the Behavioral Repertoire of the Flashlight Fish
The flashlight fish, Photoblepharon, possesses headlight-like luminous organs situated in the orbit just below the eyes, and it is postulated that the bioluminescence is used by the fish to assist in obtaining prey, to deter or escape predators, and for intraspecific communication.


Review lecture: on the organization of reflecting surfaces in some marine animals.
  • E. Denton
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1970
The organization of these crystals is described for the silvery surfaces of bony fish, the herring and mackerel, for the reflecting tapeta found in the shark and dogfish, For the photophores of the deep-sea hatchet fish and for the eye of the scallop.
The characteristics of a persistent diurnal rhythm of luminescence in the dinoflagellate Gonyaulax polyedra are described and Cultures which have been grown in bright light for as long as one year show a diurnal Rhythmicity when placed in constant dim light or darkness.
Reflectors in Fishes
Alternatively, but not so ideal in practice, the organism might match its emission to that of the background by vertical migration
    The converse situation, in which bioluminescence is restricted to or favored during the nighttime, is known to hold for certain other luminous organisms, such as dinoflagellates
    • Biol. Bull
    • 1958
    Ventral bioluminescence is also common in certain other luminous animals, especially crustacea and squid
    • Res. Bd. Can. 24,
    • 1967
    Bioluminescence (Academic Press, New York, 1952); in Physiology of Fishes
    • 1957
    Control appears to be by chromatophores, as it is necessary to handle the fish or remove it from the water before the luminescence is displayed
    • states that