Beryciform fishes cover a range of habitats. Some species, such as many of the squirrelfishes, gravitate toward shallow, tropical reefs. Others, such as the roughies, spend their lives in deep, dark, ocean waters. Most roughies inhabit continental-shelf and slope waters almost 5,280 ft (1,609 m) deep. Certain spinyfins and fangtooth species share this preference for deep waters, and live along the sea bottom 6,600 ft (2,012 m) down.
Beryciforms that live in shallow waters shun the light, usually tucking themselves under a coral overhang, backing into a cave, or hiding below another structure during the day. During daytime excursions, divers frequently encounter squir-relfishes poking out from some type of dark sanctuary. Shallow-dwelling species sometimes maintain a daily routine of descending into deep waters and remaining mostly inactive during the day, then rising into the shallows at night to feed. A few, such as the flashlightfishes, further avoid the light by limiting their shallow-water forays to nights of a new moon, or to the periods before the moon rises and after it sets.
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