Prickly Lanternfish, Myctophum asperum Richardson 1845

Other Names: Rough Lantern-fish

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Myctophum asperum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Sep 2023,

Prickly Lanternfish, Myctophum asperum Richardson 1845

More Info


Off Perth to off North West Cape, Western Australia, and off Cape York, Queensland, to off Wollongong, New South Wales; also the Lord Howe Province and the Norfolk Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical waters.
An oceanic, mesopelagic species that  performs diel migrations from as deep as 425-750 m during the day, up to the surface to 125 m during the night for feeding purposes.


Dorsal fin 12-14; Anal fin 17-20 Pectoral 13-14; Gill rakers 4+1+10 = 15.
Anal photophores 13-14; males with 5 luminous scales in supracaudal gland, females with 1-4 scales in infracaudal gland. 


Feeds on zooplankton including copepods (mostly calanoids), euphausids, and crab larvae.

Species Citation

Myctophum asperum Richardson 1845, in Richardson & Gray (eds). Zool. Voy. Erebus Terror 2: 41, pl. 27(13-15). Type locality: unknown locality. 


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Prickly Lanternfish, Myctophum asperum Richardson 1845


Cohen, D.L. & Beckley, L.E. 2021. Diet and prey selectivity of the mesopelagic lanternfish Myctophum asperum from the Perth Canyon, Western Australia. Ichthyological Research 68: 294–302,

Hulley, P. 2015. Myctophum asperum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15600450A15603835. Downloaded on 12 April 2021.

Martin, R.P., Olson, E.E., Girard, M.G., Smith, Wm.L. & Davis, M.P. 2018. Light in the darkness: New perspective on lanternfish relationships and classification using genomic and morphological data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 121: 71-85,

Nafpaktitis, B.G. & Nafpaktitis, M. 1969. Lanternfishes (family Myctophidae) collected during cruises 3 and 6 of the R/V Anton Bruun in the Indian Ocean. Bulletin of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History 5: 1-79.

Olivar, M.P., Moser, H.G. & Beckley, L.E. 1999. Lanternfish larvae from the Agulhas current (SW Indian Ocean). Scientia Marina 63(2): 101-120.

Paxton, J.R. & Hulley, P.A. 1999. Myctophidae. pp. 1957-1965 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Richardson, J. 1845. Ichthyology. 17-52 pls 7-8 (parts), 11-30 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : E.W. Janson Vol. 2 139 pp. pls 1-60. See ref online

Robertson, D.A. & Clements, K.D. 2015. 89 Family Myctophidae. pp. 613-680 in  Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37122009


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0 to 750 m

Habitat:Mesopelagic, oceanic

Max Size:8.5 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map