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Abstract

In sharks bioluminescence is only known from the family Squalidae. It evolved independently in two out of six squalid subfamilies, Dalatiinae and Etmopterinae. The distribution of photophores was mapped in several species. It is suggested that in the Dalatiinae, which do not school, but migrate vertically, luminescence serves as ventral countershading. The Etmopterinae school and feed close to the bottom. Their luminescence is an aid in schooling. Four different placoid scale patterns are found in luminescent sharks and they allow to accommodation the photophores in the skin.