Working as a wildlife photographer on board a research ship provides endless opportunities.  What I think I enjoy the most is capturing the detail in a specimen.  For example, this beautiful Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum) has an amazing pattern and texture to its skin.  The photophores (light producing organs) add to the pattern.  The detail of the barbel, with its glowing end, fascinates me.  I wanted to take the opportunity to share a series of images I took trying to highlight the detail of a dragonfish.


The red photophores (light producing organ) behind the eyes of the fish generate red light.  This is significant because most deep sea life can't see red light.  This fish makes red light and can see it.  Potential prey items are illuminated by the red light and don't know they have been spotted!


The feathery gills of the fish extend out from behind the gill cover (opercula).  The circular objects behind the opercula are photophores.  Dragonfishes may use photophores on their sides to recognize fishes of the same species, even the opposite sex, in the dark.


The barbell of the dragonfish has an end that glows in the dark.  Similar to anglerfishes, dragonfishes attract their prey using glowing lures.


The sides (or flanks) of dragonfishes are decorated with lines of photophores.  These light producing organs may convey important messages between members of the same species.


Even the tail end of the dragonfishes can be adorned with photophores.


Lots more to come but I wanted to share the detail of a particular fish today.  Working on this ship is really a wildlife photographers dream!