15 Fin-tastic Facts About Lampfish For Kids

Lampfish facts are interesting.

Lampfish is a common name used for many species of fish all around the world. Fishes like the northern lampfish, Mexican lampfish, longfin lampfish, broadfin lampfish, Warmings lampfish or lanternfish, pinpoint lampfish, and many other species are known by the name lampfish. The lampfish vs lanternfish discussion is void as many lanternfish species are called by the name lampfish. These are related species and are commonly found all over the world. The northern lampfish is also known as smallfin lanternfish and is part of the family Myctophidae in the order Myctophiformes. The Mexican lampfish, on the other hand, falls in a new genus of Triphoturus in the same family and order as the northern lampfish.

These fishes are given this special new name because of the light producing organs called photophores. The small round photophores are special as they provide light and are present on the surface, the sides, and belly of the fish. This light phenomenon on the pattern of the fish is mainly seen during the night. However, there are many predators in the ocean habitats that prey on these fishes for food.

The life span of the northern lampfish is known to be around eight years. These are long-lived fishes with a few years of life in them. Most lampfish species migrate to the surface during the night to feed. The larvae of lampfish are found in Monterey Bay from December to March. The northern lampfish is found in deeper bathypelagic and mesopelagic zones of the ocean during the day and reach the surface at night to hunt for prey. The identification of this particular species is achieved by the large mouth with small teeth and large eyes. They are found in the Pacific Ocean and these fishes mate with others with the same pattern to other species of fish

For more relatable content, check out these fun channel catfish facts and rockfish facts.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small copepods, euphausiids, sergestid shrimp, and amphipods

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

Northern lampfish: 5 in (12.7 cm)

Mexican lampfish: 2.3 in (5.8 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Northern lampfish: gray to dark greenish blue body with photophores, large eyes, and black fins Mexican lampfish: silvery black body, dark around the head and caudal fin, and medium-sized eyes

Skin Type

Wet and slimy scales

What are their main threats?

Habitat loss and surface pollution

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them

Ocean habitats


Mexico and the Pacific Ocean





Scientific Name

Northern lampfish: Stenobrachius leucopsarus





Lampfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lampfish?

Lampfish is a common name and is given to many species of fish found in the world.

What class of animal does a lampfish belong to?

These fishes belong to the class of Actinopterygii in the kingdom of Animalia. The Mexican lampfish family is Myctophidae, which is the same family as the northern lampfish.

How many lampfish are there in the world?

The population of the species is not known. They are found in abundance in ocean habitats and are common. Pollution on the surface  of water has depleted the quality of their deep sea habitat, so special care needs to be taken.

Where does a lampfish live?

The northern lampfish is seen in the Pacific Ocean, specifically from Baja California and Japan to the Bering Sea. This fish is said to be the most commonly found species in the northwestern Pacific range. The larvae of the fish are also most common in the California Current. Lamfpish larvae make their way back to Monterey Bay from December to March.

The Mexican lampfish is found in the Mexican waters and is known as Linternilla Mexicana in Mexico. It is the only species of its genus seen in these parts.

What is a lampfish's habitat?

The northern lampfish can be found in deeper waters of the deep sea. Like all fishes in the family, this fish spends the day in the deep sea and migrates to the surface of the Pacific Ocean at night to feed on the food available. It can easily be spotted as the fish is known to produce light in the dark night with the help of the organs called photophores. The day time habitat consists of  deeper bathypelagic and mesopelagic zones of the ocean.

The Mexican lampfish in also seen in the oceanic waters of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean.

Who do lampfish live with?

There is no information on the company of these fishes.

How long does a lampfish live?

The northern lampfish is known to live for up to eight years in the wild. This is subjective to the availability of food and health of the water.

How do they reproduce?

The number of lampfish egg laid by a lampfish female is not known. The lampfish may seek out other fishes with the same reproduction pattern when it travels to find a mate.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status is Not Evaluated for the northern lampfish or the Mexican lampfish. Although the fish lives in the deep sea during the day, it may come up to the land at night to find prey or food. This is where they are affected and the last resort is to help these fishes live and their populations needs to be preserved. Mexican lampfish are only found in Mexico and have a small range, meaning there needs to be conservation to protect this species.

Anything that humans throw into the ocean or onto the beach or surface may find its way back to the deep sea. These polluting items on the surface reach the deeper waters and these waters are often damaged by human activities. We are the ones that may lead to the destruction of these species and we can help stop these activities and make people see the beauty of water bodies and their inhabitants around the world.

Lampfish Fun Facts

What do lampfish look like?

At first glance, the northern lampfish has a large mouth with small teeth and lathe eyes. The nose is blunt and the scales are gray to dark greenish-blue on the dorsal side. The fish is paler on the ventral side. Black coloration is seen on the fins and operculum. There are luminous spots on the body along the belly and laterally on the flank and head. These spots are also present on the tail. These are actually light-producing organs called photophores.

The Mexican lampfish has a slender body that is silvery black in color. The coloration is darker in the head and towards the base of the caudal fin. The body tapers towards the end. Transparent anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are seen. The fish has medium-sized eyes.

Lampfish have large mouths.
* Please note that this is an image of a bicolor parrotfish. If you have an image of a lampfish please let us know at

How cute are they?

People may consider these fishes cute because of the spots on the belly and upper body that light up, meaning this fish glows in the dark!  

How do they communicate?

Fishes communicate chemically and by movement. Lampfishes also communicate via their photophores.

How big is a lampfish?

The northern lampfish length has a range of up to 5 in (12.7 cm) while the Mexican lampfish measures up to 2.3 in (5.8 cm) in length.

How fast can a lampfish swim?

The speed is not known.

How much does a lampfish weigh?

The weight is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Fish of this species are not given different names so they can be called lampfish male and lampfish female.

What would you call a baby lampfish?

A lampfish baby is called larvae first and then grows into a juvenile.

What do they eat?

Northern lampfish are known to feed on small copepods, sergestid shrimp, amphipods, euphausiids, and plankton. Sergestid shrimps are nearly transparent shrimps seen swimming in large numbers in the water column.

Predators of the northern lampfish include fishes like salmon and tuna. They even have bird predators such as red-legged kittiwake.

Are they dangerous?

They are not considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Unlikely as lampfish like to live in deep waters in the oceans which will be hard to replicate in a tank.

Did you know...

There are many predators of the northern lampfish which include dolphins, whales, sharks, tuna, salmon, and some seabirds.

Lampfishes prey on the food that keeps the water bodies clean, meaning the ecological balance is maintained.

Are lampfish endangered?

Due to pollution in their habitats, the population of lampfish might be disturbed and decline. However, the status is not known.

How did lampfish get their name?

The lampfish name has been given to this fish for their light-producing organs called photophores.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these monkfish facts and black ghost knifefish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fish outline coloring pages.

*Please note that the main image is of a parrotfish. If you have an image of a lampfish please let us know at



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