Many deep-sea animals produce blue bioluminescence, but species of three genera of midwater dragonfishes also produce red light. In addition to numerous small body photophores, species of these genera (Malacosteus, Pachystomias and Aristostomias) have large suborbital photophores that emit red light and postorbital ones that emit blue light. Pachystomias microdon additionally has a red-emitting preorbital photophore. Fluorescence measurements from the intact suborbital photophores, and from their exposed cores, confirm the previous hypothesis that the red light emitted by Malacosteus is spectrally altered by a superficial shortwave cutoff brown filter. No such filter is present in the other two genera. Studies of the anatomy of the photophores show that the suborbital photophore of Malacosteus is similar in general organisation to other photophores, including the postorbital photophore. The red-emitting photophores of Pachystomias and Aristostomias, however, have a unique organisation, in which the bulk of the photophore comprises a gland that lies outside the thick reflector. Strands of tissue run from the gland into the photogenic core of the photophore through numerous pores in the reflector. The production and use of red light by these fishes is discussed in the context of these results.
Core Material Reflective Material Brown Surface Bioluminescence Emission Rectangular Midwater Trawl
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
We are most grateful to Dr E.A. Widder for her assistance in obtaining the video images in Figs. 1 and 6 and to Dr N.J. Marshall for advice on the reflectance measurements. We are also grateful to Dr. Widder and Dr. T. Sutton for their helpful comments on the manuscript.
Bowmaker JK, Dartnall HJA, Herring PJ (1988) Longwave-sensitive visual pigments in some deep sea fishes: segregation of paired rhodopsins and porphyropsins. J Comp Physiol A 163:685–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brauer A (1908) Die Tiefsee-Fische. II. Anatomische Teil. Wiss Ergebn Dt Tiefsee-Exped “Valdivia” 15:1–266Google Scholar
Campbell AK, Herring PJ (1987) A novel red fluorescent protein from the deep sea fish Malacosteus niger. Comp Biochem Physiol 86B:411–417Google Scholar
Denton EJ, Gilpin-Brown JB, Wright PG (1970) On the filters in the photophores of mesopelagic fish and on a fish emitting red light and especially sensitive to red light. J Physiol (London) 208:72–73Google Scholar
Denton EJ, Herring PJ, Widder EA, Latz MF, Case JF (1985) The roles of filters in the photophores of oceanic animals and their relation to vision in the oceanic environment. Proc R Soc Lond B 225:63–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Douglas RH, Partridge JC (1997) On the visual pigments of deep-sea fish. J Fish Biol 50:68–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Douglas RH, Partridge JC, Marshall NJ (1998) The visual systems of deep-sea fish I: Lens pigmentation, tapeta and visual pigments. Progr Retinal Eye Res 17:597–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Herring PJ (1981) Red fluorescence of fish and cephalopod photophores. In: DeLuca MA, McElroy WD (eds) Bioluminescence and chemiluminescence. Academic, New York, pp 527–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Herring PJ (1983) The spectral characteristics of luminous marine organisms. Proc R Soc Lond B 220:183–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Latz MI, Frank TM, Case JF (1988) Spectral composition of bioluminescence of epipelagic organisms from the Sargasso Sea. Mar Biol 98:441–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lendenfeld R von (1887) Report on the structure of the phosphorescent organs of fishes. Challenger reports, Zoology 22(Appendix B):277–329Google Scholar
Mensinger AF, Case JF (1990) Luminescent properties of deep sea fish. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 144:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mensinger AF, Case JF (1997) Luminescent properties of fishes from nearshore California basins. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 210:75–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nicol JAC (1960) Studies on luminescence. On the subocular light-organs of stomiatoid fishes. J Mar Biol Ass UK 39:529–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roe HSJ, Shale DM (1979) A new multiple rectangular midwater trawl (RMT 1+8M) and some modifications to the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences’ RMT 1+8. Mar Biol 50:283–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sutton TT, Hopkins TL (1996) Trophic ecology of the stomiid (Pisces: Stomiidae) fish assemblage of the eastern Gulf of Mexico: strategies,selectivity and impact of a top mesopelagic predator group. Mar Biol 127:179–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Widder EA, Latz MI, Case JF (1983) Marine bioluminescence spectra measured with an optical multichannel detection system. Biol Bull 165:791–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Widder EA, Latz MI, Herring PJ, Case JF (1984) Far-red bioluminescence from two deep-sea fishes. Science 225:512–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wild RA, Darlington E, Herring PJ (1985) An acoustically controlled cod-end system for the recovery of deep-sea animals at in situ temperatures. Deep-Sea Res 32:1583–1589CrossRefGoogle Scholar