This Terrifying Creature Will Haunt Your Dreams

Did you know that the fish from Finding Nemo is real? No, we don’t mean clownfish, although they are of course real. We mean the monstrous creature that Marlin and Dory encounter in the murky depths of the ocean, when they are lured in by a mysterious light that turns out to be the most terrifying thing ever seen in a kids’ movie. Yes, that fish.


They’re called viperfish and are every bit as scary and fascinating as Finding Nemo portrays. Viperfish have long needle-like teeth and hinged lower jaws. They use their fang-like teeth to immobilize their victims. It’s only able to close its mouth by folding its jaws behind its head.

Just like in Finding Nemo, before they attack their prey, they lure it with light-producing organs called photophores. They stay where it’s dark, so that their lures are as noticeable as possible. For most of the viperfish’s prey, the bright lure and brief illumination of the fish’s body are the last things they ever see.They also have prominent long photophores all over their skin to attract prey and mates.


It’s also incredibly resilient. The viperfish has an in-built defence mechanism that can absorb shock from biting prey. However, they do have some natural predators. Both dolphins and sharks eat viperfish.

They can grow up to 23 inches long. Viperfish stay in deeper water in the daytime, move to shallower depths at night and can be found in primarily tropical and temperate waters. Luckily, the viperfish tends to stay in lower depths in the daytime (around 250-5,000 feet) but tends to go significantly higher in the night (around 80 feet.)


Due the the deep waters that they live in and the strange way that they cannot survive in captivity, the viperfish is still a highly mysterious creature. For example, it is unknown whether or not they migrate and, most weirdly, scientists cannot identify the substance that they produce to cover their bodies.