Diaphus splendidus

Common Name

Horned Lanternfish

Year Described

Brauer, 1904


Dorsal Fin: 14-15
Anal Fin: 15-17
Pelvic Fin: 8
Pectoral Fin: 11-12
Gill Rakers: 17-20
Lateral Line: 37-39

Body Photophores
PVO: 2 (first at base of pectoral fin; two PVO in straight line with first PO)
PO: 5 (first well separated from rest; fourth almost directly above third; fifth raised about half the height of fourth)
VO: 5 (first, fourth, and fifth in straight line along belly; second and third in slightly curved ascending line from first)
SAO: 3 (first two in steep, straight line with fifth VO; third well above second is on lateral line)
AOa: 6 (first elevated slightly anterior to vertical from second, second through fifth in line, sixth elevated almost in line with AOa5 and Pol)
AOp: 5-7 (almost a straight line, first over last ray of anal fin)
Prc: 4 (curving line with the fourth separated by a larger gap and situated right under lateral line)
PLO: 1 (closer to pectoral fin than lateral line, directly over second PVO)
VLO: 1 (over pelvic fin base but much closer to lateral line)
Pol: 1 (right below lateral line; between last AOa and first AOp)

A large triangular luminous scale adjacent to PLO is several times its size.

Head Photophores
Dn: present on the antero-dorsal part of orbit behind upper half of nostril; both sexes with small, round Dn set into a recess.
Vn: present on the antero-ventral part of the orbit; females with a large triangular Vn that extends dorsally to level of Dn. Males with much enlarged Vn that extends from lower part of orbit to the supraorbital bone behind Dn.
Op: 2 (first tiny behind jaw, second above it is similar in size to a body photophore)

Supraorbital ridge extends forward as a strong spine.


Body jet black with scattered silvery hilights on the head and body. Naked skin is pale. Fins with dark rays and black speckles. Dark tissue on anterior orbit between Vn and orbit.


Maximum size to 80mm. Mature adults from 50mm.


Continental and oceanic. Vertical migrator: from 375-750m by day and toward the surface at night.

Range Map

 Range Map


Tropical Atlantic from Florida to off NE Brazil. Also north in the Gulf Stream to the latitude of New England and in the central Atlantic.


Hartel, K.E. and J.E. Craddock. 2003. Myctophiformes. pp. 942-951. In: FAO Species Identification Guide to Fishes of the Western Atlantic. (ed. Carpenter, K.), pp. 1308–1369. UN FAO Publishers, Rome.

Nafpaktitis, B.G. 1968. Taxonomy and distribution of the lanternfishes, genera Lobianchia and Diaphus, in the North Atlantic. Dana Report No. 73: 1-131, Pls. 1-2.

Nafpaktitis, B.G. 1977. Family Myctophidae. In: Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Sears Foundation for Marine Research. Part 7, No. 1: 13-258.