Identity card

LATIN NAME: Anomalops katoptron

FAMILY: Anomalopidae

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Actinopterygii

This luminous Pacific fish is a fascinating animal. The flashlight fish can be recognised by its torch-like organ.

It lives in coral reefs to depths of 400 metres. It shelters in undersea caverns, caves and crevices during the day. Juveniles can be seen on very dark nights near caves and slopes.

The splitfin flashlight fish is a nocturnal animal: it comes out at night to feed. Its diet mainly comprises zooplankton and small crustaceans.

It measures 28 cm on average but can grow up to 35 cm long.

  • Distribution :

    Pacific Ocean: Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia around the Tuamotu Archipelago, north towards Southern Japan, and south to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • IUCN Status :

    Not evaluated

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Did you know ?

Find out more about Splitfin flashlight fish

It has a bean-shaped luminous organ beneath its eye that gives off a bluish light. This is possible due to the presence of bioluminescent bacteria in these pouches.

This phosphorescent organ helps it to find food and avoid predators.

The light from this luminous organ can sometimes look like it’s blinking. This is probably used to communicate within a group.

It can also “turn off” this light by turning its organ inwards.

These fish need a very special aquarium, with as little light as possible. At NAUSICAA, slit-shaped windows have been provided so they can be observed without disturbing them.

Where are they in NAUSICAA? Once you’ve visited the giant grouper in the High Sea Diving space, the splitfin flashlight fish is awaiting you in the Ocean at night space. On entering this space, immediately on your right you can look through the narrow slits provided in the black surround. When you look through these slits, you can see the light beams produced by these fish. Look carefully!





Crédits photo du bandeau : © Y. Tavernier
Crédits photo de la galerie : © Y.Tavernier

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

Meet our 58 000 animals