Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature Fangtooth Fish Facts Scientific Name: Anoplogaster cornuta, Anoplogaster brachycera Share Flipboard Email Print Fangtooth Fish (Anoplogaster cornuta): deep ocean predator. Mark Conlin / Getty Images Plus Animals & Nature Marine Life Marine Life Profiles Marine Habitat Profiles Sharks Key Terms Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More Table of Contents Expand Description Habitat and Distribution Diet and Behavior Reproduction and Offspring Species Conservation Status Sources By Regina Bailey Biology Expert B.A., Biology, Emory University A.S., Nursing, Chattahoochee Technical College Regina Bailey is a board-certified registered nurse, science writer and educator. Her work has been featured in "Kaplan AP Biology" and "The Internet for Cellular and Molecular Biologists." our editorial process Regina Bailey Updated July 29, 2019 Fangtooth fish are part of family Anoplogastridae and mainly thrive in depths between 1,640 and 6,562 feet in temperate and tropical waters. Their genus scientific name, Anoplogaster, is derived from the Greek words meaning unarmed (anoplo) and stomach (gaster). Ironically, fangtooth fish don’t appear unarmed at all due to their disproportionately large jaws and sharp teeth. Fast Facts Scientific Name: Anoplogaster cornuta, Anoplogaster brachyceraCommon Names: Common fangtooth, ogrefish, shorthorn fangtoothOrder: BeryciformesBasic Animal Group: FishDistinguishing Characteristics: Lower jaw that extends outwards with long sharp teethSize: Up to 3 inches (Anoplogaster brachycera) and up to 6-7 inches (Anoplogaster cornuta)Weight: UnknownLife Span: UnknownDiet: Small fish, squid, crustaceansHabitat: In temperate/tropical waters in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans, and off the coast of Australia and the British IslesPopulation: Not documentedConservation Status: Least Concern Description The fangtooth is a small fish with a laterally compressed body. Despite their small size, fangtooths have large heads and disproportionately long sharp teeth. Two sockets have developed on the sides of their brains to make room for the teeth when their jaws close. Large teeth enable the fangtooth to kill fish much larger than itself. Common fangtooth, Anoplogaster cornuta, on ice. Anette Andersen/iStock/Getty Images Plus Fangtooth fish colors range from black to dark brown as adults and are light gray when young. Their bodies are covered with prickly scales and spines. They can be found at depths anywhere from 6 feet to 15,000 feet but are most commonly found between 1,640 and 6,562 feet. When fangtooth are young, they tend to live in shallower depths. Habitat and Distribution The common fangtooth is found around the world in temperate marine waters. This includes the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, appearing off the waters of Australia and from the central to Southern British Isles. The shorthorn fangtooth lives in tropical waters from the western Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico to the western Atlantic. Diet and Behavior The fangtooth is a carnivorous and highly mobile fish, feeding on small fish, shrimp, and squid. When they are young, they filter zooplankton from the water and migrate closer to the surface at night to feed on crustaceans. Adults either hunt alone or in schools. Unlike other predators that ambush their prey, fangtooth fish actively seek out food. Fangtooth Fish (Anoplogaster cornuta) close-up of head showing teeth, from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. David Shale / Getty Images Their large heads allow them to swallow most prey whole, eating fish one-third their size. When fangtooths’ mouths are full, they can not pump water over their gills as efficiently. Thus, they produce large gaps between their gills and use their pectoral fins to fan water over their gills from behind. To find prey, fangtooths have lateral lines along each side of their bodies, which are important for detecting changes in temperature and movements of potential prey. They also rely on contact chemoreception, where they find prey by bumping into them. Reproduction and Offspring Not much is known about fangtooth fish reproduction, but they generally reach reproductive maturity at 5 inches for the common fangtooth. From June to August, males will latch on to females with their jaws and fertilize the eggs the females release into the ocean. Fangtooth fish do not guard their eggs, so these young are on their own. As they grow, they descend to deeper depths. As larvae, they appear close to the surface and by the time they are adults, they may be swimming at depths of up to 15,000 feet. Overlapping of depth and habitats occurs across stages of maturity. Species Fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta), illustrated view of a deep sea fish with a small body and disproportionately large head, and large teeth. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images There are two known species: Anoplogaster cornuta (the common fangtooth) and Anoplogaster brachycera (shorthorn fangtooth). Shorthorn fangtooth fish are even smaller than common fangtooth fish, reaching sizes of just short of 3 inches. They are most commonly found at depths between 1,640 and 6,500 feet. Conservation Status The common fangtooth is designated as least concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, while the shorthorn fangtooth has not been assessed by the IUCN. Due to their appearance, they do not have any commercial value. Sources Baidya, Sankalan. "20 Interesting Fangtooth Facts". Facts Legend, 2014, https://factslegend.org/20-interesting-fangtooth-facts/. "Common Fangtooth". British Sea Fishing, https://britishseafishing.co.uk/common-fangtooth/."Common Fangtooth". Oceana, https://oceana.org/marine-life/ocean-fishes/common-fangtooth.Iwamoto, T. "Anoplogaster Cornuta". The IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species, 2015, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/18123960/21910070#population.Malhotra, Rishi. "Anoplogaster Cornuta". Animal Diversity Web, 2011, https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Anoplogaster_cornuta/.McGrouther, Mark. "Fangtooth, Anoplogaster Cornuta (Valenciennes, 1833)". The Australian Museum, 2019, https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/fishes/fangtooth-anoplogaster-cornuta-valenciennes-1833/.