Picture above: Electrona antarctica
This is a small fish 4–5 centimeters long which produces its own light. The small spots along its side are light producing organs. Electrona antarctica is member of the Myctophidae family which is found in all oceans. Nearly all of them are pelagic and can be found from surface level to several thousand meters depth. The light producing organs are used to attract prey. During nighttime these fish migrate to the surface to feed on krill.
Antarctic fishes have adapted to the extreme Antarctic conditions with water temperatures close to freezing (- 1.9 centigrade). Icefish are a large group of fish found only in Antarctic waters. Their most distinct feature is that they lack haemoglobin in their blood which therefore is transparent. They survival is due to the Antarctic water being oxygen rich.
Pseudochaenichthys georgianus (Crocodile dragon fish)
Champsocephalus gunnari (Mackerel icefish)
We fried up some of the catch early one morning after finishing one of the research stations. The majority of the cruise participants present thought the painted rock cod tasted the best (below).
Lepidonotothen larseni (Painted rock cod)
This is a species which belong to the Stomiidae family (Scaly dragon fish). All members of this family have a long line under their chin with a light organ in the end which is used to attract prey.
Argyropelecus hemigymnus (Sternoptychidae family).
This fish was alive when we emptied the trawl and we let him swim in a tank in the laboratory for a few days. We are still trying to figure out which species it is. His preliminary name is "Aquarium antarcticus".
Merete Kvalsund (text)
Jaime Alvarez (photo)