The Pinecone Fish

The Pinecone Fish
The pinecone fish…
… and the pinecone from pine trees
Here’s another marine animal, the pinecone fish, whose namesake comes from its totally distant and unrelated land ‘relative’. Named after the fruit of the pine tree, the pinecone fish is a small fish that is covered with large plate-like scales and has some quite interesting safety and hunting techniques.

  • It is equipped with enlarged, lockable dorsal and pelvic fin spines to stick in the throat of anything foolhardy enough to try swallowing them.
  • These fish are nocturnal, they spend the day in caves or under ledges and rocky overhangs of reefs, waiting for darkness to fall when they venture out in search of food.
  • All pinecone fish have phosphorescent organs at either side of the lower jaw that can turn off and on by movement of the jaw. These bioluminescent organs attract plankton on which the pinecone fish feeds at night. The bioluminescence is caused by phosphorescent bacteria, which live with the fish in a symbiotic relationship. The color of the bioluminescence varies from yellow to blue-green, depending on amount of light reaching it.

Other marine animal facts.

Animal Facts

Common name:
The Pinecone Fish

Scientific name:
Monocentris japonica


Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging from South Africa to Japan

Shrimp and smaller fish

Up to 25cm


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