Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 267–273 | Cite as

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

  • Edith A. Widder


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 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

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

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