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Northern lampfish

Northern lampfish

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Stenobrachius leucopsarus

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    primarily small copepods; also euphausiids, sergestid shrimp, amphipods

  • Size

    to 5 inches long (12 cm)

  • Relatives

    there are several species of lampfish

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    midwater (2,297-3,281 feet, or 700-1,000 meters)

Natural History

Each species of lampfish has a distinct pattern of lights on its body. When a lampfish goes looking for a mate, it seeks out other fish with the same pattern. How does a lampfish make light? It has special light-producing organs—called photophores—along its sides and belly.


Anything that finds its way into the ocean, whether it's tossed away as trash, washes off a beach or falls off a boat, may eventually make its way to the deep sea. It's important to realize that the deep sea is not so far away that it's beyond the reach of human activities. Living creatures in the deep are affected by what we do at the surface.

Cool Facts

Most lampfish migrate to the surface nightly to feed. 

Lampfish larvae show up in Monterey Bay from December to March.

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