The Abyss: Ipnopidae

Written by Jonathan Wojcik

By Richard Ellis for his wonderful book, Deep Atlantic.

   The peculiar "tube eye" or "threadtail," Stylephorus chordatus, is the only known member of the Stylephorus genus, and one of my personal favorite fish. Its jaws are enclosed in a membrane with only a tiny opening, creating a powerful suction when the jaws are expanded. The whole structure is remarkably similar to a bellows, and can expand an incredible 38 times its original volume. I have to wonder who thought it should be named just for its eyes or tail. I nominate hooverface for a new common name.

   The body of HOOVERFACE is less than a foot long, but the whiplike extension on its tail fin more than triples its overall length.