7 Facts About The Hatchetfish

  1. The hatchetfish has a hatchet shaped belly – which is where they get their name from. An aerodynamic body shape and large wing shaped pectoral fins allow them to generate enough power so that they can jump out of the water in order to catch small aerial insects.
Marbled Hatchetfish – Image Source: SOK, Sven Kullander, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Their upturned mouths also make them very efficient surface hunters and allow them to catch prey just above the surface as well as just below the surface.

2. Their coloration varies from silver to a yellow/gold color to a marble variation. Some even have a spotted stomach.

3. In the wild the freshwater hatchetfish is primarily found in Central and South America, in the mouth of Amazon basin and have been seen as far as Venezuela and Peru.

4. The freshwater hatchetfish are about 2.5 inches when full grown and the deep sea hatchet fish can vary in size from 1 to 6 inches in length when full grown.

5. The marine or deep sea hatchetfish has a row of photophores on the underside of their bellies.

These small organs emit light which allows the species to hide their shadow. This helps them to be more stealthy and sneak up on their prey. It also allows them the ability to hide from larger predators like the Viperfish. Each individual fish has its own unique light pattern that it uses for both applications.

6. The Deep Sea hatchetfish feeds primarily on zooplankton and small crustaceans.

7. The marine hatchetfish are found in depths ranging from 600 feet to 4,500 feet in the ocean.

Learn more about other species here: Fish Facts

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