Fish With A Transparent Head Discovered 2,000 Feet Below The Ocean
Fish With A Transparent Head Was Discovered 2,000 Feet Below The Ocean
In the ocean’s shadowy twilight zone, between 600 and 800 metres beneath the surface, there are fish that gaze upwards through their transparent heads with eyes like mesmerising emerald orbs.
These domes are huge spherical lenses that sit on a pair of long, silvery eye tubes – hence its common name, the barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma).
The green tint (which actually comes from a yellow pigment) acts as sunglasses, of a sort, to help them track down their prey.
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There’s nowhere to hide in the open waters of the deep ocean and many animals living here have glowing bellies that disguise their silhouette and protect them – bioluminescent prey is hard to spot against the dim blue sunlight trickling down. But barreleyes are one step ahead.
Their eye pigment allows the fish to distinguish between sunlight and bioluminescence, says Bruce Robison, deep-sea biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.
It helps barreleyes to get a clear view of the animals trying to erase their shadows. The barreleye’s tubular eyes are extremely sensitive and take in a lot of light, which is useful in the inky depths of the twilight zone.
But Robison was initially mystified that their eyes seemed fixed upwards on the small spot of water, right above their heads.
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