viperfish

viperfish

[vahy-per-fish]
noun, plural (especially collectively) viperfish (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) viperfishes.
any of several deep-sea fishes of the family Chauliodontidae, having a large mouth and fanglike teeth, some species having light-emitting organs on their bodies.

Origin:
1890–95; viper + fish

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To viperfish
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

viperfish

any of six species of marine fishes belonging to the genus Chauliodus, the sole genus in the family Chauliodontidae (order Salmoniformes). They are found in tropical regions of the major oceans. The viperfishes are deep-sea dwellers and have luminescent organs along the sides; the lights sometimes function in the attraction of other fishes on which they feed. The name viperfish comes from the long fangs that protrude from the upper and lower jaws, used to firmly grip struggling prey. All of the species are small, the largest being the Pacific viperfish (C. macouni), which attains a length of 30 centimetres (1 foot)

Learn more about viperfish with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature