Below the euphotic epipelagic zone is the realm of deep-sea fishes. The depth zones of this major portion of the earth's oceans have been characterized by the physical features and types of organisms present. Many deep-sea fishes are bioluminescent, even though light production would seem to make them stand out in their dark world. The photophores of many mesopelagic and bathypelagic fishes are, however, arranged in rows along the ventral surface of the animal. These are thought to provide counterillumination by producing light that is similar to the ambient light in color, intensity, and angular dispersion. Near the seafloor of even the world's deepest oceans, one finds that the fishes are typically much larger, more substantial, and usually more active than those of the overlying midwaters. This chapter also presents general differences in the characteristics of fishes from the epipelagic through the benthopelagic regions of the open ocean.
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