Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 267–273

A predatory use of counterillumination by the squaloid shark, Isistius brasiliensis

  • Edith A. Widder

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007498915860

Cite this article as:
Widder, E.A. Environmental Biology of Fishes (1998) 53: 267. doi:10.1023/A:1007498915860


A number of very unusual morphological and behavioral characteristics attributed to the cookie-cutter shark, Isistius brasiliensis, may be explained by a novel use of counterillumination. Specifically, it is proposed that a band of pigment, located beneath the jaw and bounded by ventrally directed bioluminescence, acts as a lure which mimics the search image of many upward-looking pelagic predators.

bioluminescence cookie-cutter shark lure mimic vertical migration 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edith A. Widder
    • 1
  1. 1.Harbor Branch Oceanographic InstitutionFort PierceU.S.A.