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Data from: The flashlight fish Anomalops katoptron uses bioluminescent light to detect prey in the dark

Citation

Hellinger, Jens et al. (2017), Data from: The flashlight fish Anomalops katoptron uses bioluminescent light to detect prey in the dark, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2jn03

Abstract

Bioluminescence is a fascinating phenomenon occurring in numerous animal taxa in the ocean. The reef dwelling splitfin flashlight fish (Anomalops katoptron) can be found in large schools during moonless nights in the shallow water of coral reefs and in the open surrounding water. Anomalops katoptron produce striking blink patterns with symbiotic bacteria in their sub-ocular light organs. We examined the blink frequency in A. katoptron under various laboratory conditions. During the night A. katoptron swims in schools roughly parallel to their conspecifics and display high blink frequencies of approximately 90 blinks/minute with equal on and off times. However, when planktonic prey was detected in the experimental tank, the open time increased compared to open times in the absence of prey and the frequency decreased to 20% compared to blink frequency at night in the absence of planktonic prey. During the day when the school is in a cave in the reef tank the blink frequency decreases to approximately 9 blinks/minute with increasing off-times of the light organ. Surprisingly the non-luminescent A. katoptron with non-functional light organs displayed the same blink frequencies and light organ open/closed times during the night and day as their luminescent conspecifics. In the presence of plankton non-luminescent specimens showed no change in the blink frequency and open/closed times compared to luminescent A. katoptron. Our experiments performed in a coral reef tank show that A. katoptron use bioluminescent illumination to detect planktonic prey and that the blink frequency of A. katoptron light organs follow an exogenous control by the ambient light.

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