(vertebrate zoology)
A suborder of fishes of the order Salmoniformes including the lightfishes and allies, which are of small size and often grotesque form and are equipped with photophores.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a suborder of fishes of the order Clupei-formes. The elongated body is 3–10 cm long (sometimes as long as 35 cm). The mouth is large, and the teeth are dagger-like. The fishes have luminescent organs, or photophores, and the eyes of some species are telescopic.

There are eight families, embracing about 250 species. The most common families are Gonostomidae, Sternoptychidae, Sto-miatidae, Chauliodontidae, and Melanostomiatidae.

The fishes are distributed throughout the world ocean. They usually inhabit depths of 130 to 2,000 m, but they have been found even deeper, at depths to 4,500 m. These predators complete substantial vertical migrations, rising to the surface at night. Some species, especially those of the families Gonostomidae, Sternoptychidae, and Melanostomiatidae, form extensive schools that create a sound-scattering curtain (“false bottom”), which makes it difficult to use sounding devices to locate the true bottom and large concentrations of commercial fishes.


Zhizn’ zhivomykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
Lindberg, G. U. Opredelileï i kharakteristika semeistv ryb mirovoifauny. Leningrad, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Remarks on systematics, development, and distribution of the hatchetfish genus Sternoptyx (Pisces, Stomiatoidei).
Myctophids are typically pelagic fish of the open ocean (Hartel & Craddock, 2002) and, together with members of Sternoptychidae, Gonostomatidae, Chauliodontidae and the suborder Stomiatoidei, represent the characteristic families in mesopelagic depths (Haedrich, 1997).