Amazing Creatures-Weird Fish With Transparent Head
This is the first in a series of posts I’m going to call Amazing Creatures. And what better way to start off, than with a fish with a transparent head!
Pictures of this bizarre fish were first taken in 2004 but not released until 2009. You can find great pictures and an explanation of the fish’s strange anatomy at this link at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:
The National Geographic Magazine website has a video of the fish at this link:
“Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently solved the half-century-old mystery of a fish with tubular eyes and a transparent head. Ever since the “barreleye” fish Macropinna microstoma was first described in 1939, marine biologists have known that its tubular eyes are very good at collecting light. However, the eyes were believed to be fixed in place and seemed to provide only a “tunnel-vision” view of whatever was directly above the fish’s head.
A new paper by Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler shows that these unusual eyes can rotate within a transparent shield that covers the fish’s head. This allows the barreleye to peer up at potential prey or focus forward to see what it is eating.”
Living just below the limit of light penetration, they use their super-sensitive, upward pointing eyes to detect prey in the water above them, which they see as silhouettes.
“In addition to their amazing “headgear,” barreleyes have a variety of other interesting adaptations to deep-sea life. Their large, flat fins allow them to remain nearly motionless in the water, and to maneuver very precisely… Their small mouths suggest that they can be very precise and selective in capturing small prey. On the other hand, their digestive systems are very large, which suggests that they can eat a variety of small drifting animals as well as jellies.”