Etymology: From the Greek "stego", the roof, the plate (by extension the breastplate) and "ichthy" fish.
Cousin of the 21st century: Platydoras brachylecis, catfish freshwater from south america (Brazil).
Size: 2 cm for males, 3-5 cm for females.
Area of distribution: Sea Russel (a deep sea of more than 4,000 meters deep being located between Africa and Antarctica following the melting ice of the latter due to global warming caused by man).
Morphology: The body of this tiny catfish is covered with cartilage plates inherited from his cousin 21st century Platydoras brachylecis welded into a solid suit (which evokes a bit placoderms, these fish battleships of the Paleozoic era). This original layout allows it to absorb the pressure of the depths.
The lower whiskers present in P. brachylecis totally disappeared in Stegoichthys luminosus, while the upper whiskers are welded into a long and curious outgrowth bioluminescent, forming a lure that is often found in the abyssal fish of the 21st century. The fins are reduced to simple and massive stiff pricks. They are useful for stabilizing the body in the upward vertical currents (upwells) or anchor on the bottom. Only the tail fin, always sought when moving, kept his bony rays (lepidotriches). A series of dorsal spines and pecs are not jagged, unlike those of the cousin of the 21st century.
Ecology: Essentially screener and "suction unit" (like his cousin), Stegoichthys luminosus is distributed between 2000 and 4000 meters deep. True zooplankton future (for exact, S. luminosus occupies the ecological niche of krill as the role of "zooplankton" is still occupied by crustaceans (the "neo-shrimp"), it uses the large seasonal upwells of Russel sea recur in photic zone, where it becomes food source in many food chain (These fish are food for the "little Ichthyosepia scombrus" and "gigantic Benthogyrinus").
Bioluminescence provided by the mustache and the lateral line. It is used to attract the plankton (zooplankton and phytoplankton) which it feeds it also allows the male to attract the female sting the latissimus dorsi is pierced with a channel as in some fossil shark (for example: Orthacanthus from the Early Carboniferous to Permian).. it is poisonous in large species (Stegoichthys socialis) and can store excess salt in the body.
Do not forget that cousin Stegoichthys lived in freshwater. the "evolutionary path" behind Stegoichthys therefore involved adaptation to seawater.
Reproduction: A female lays 2,000 to 4,000 eggs per season. Source of easily accessible food for many body, most of these eggs do not mature. The male takes care of the fry that grow photic zone. They then descend into the water column when their bony plates and whiskers are sufficiently developed.Diversity:The kind Stegoichthys includes three species: S. luminosus, S.socialis and S.ornatus.
With 40 cm long (double counting his mustache), Stegoichthys socialis is larger species of the genus. His forked mustache is able to launch powerful electric shocks. Its spines are venomous.
Stegoichthys ornatus (3 cm for adults) is a slender species provided with longer spines.
Both species live near the coast.
The old version of Stegoichthys: the Aberration abyssal
Nothing is known about this creature up to the fact that hunting in depth as the abyssal anglerfish he is down. It was replaced by Stegoichthys.