Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Fish with Transparent Head

Just when you thought you'd seen everything, out comes pictures of an incredible fish called the barreleye or to give it it's scientific name Macropinna microstoma. As you can see from the pictures below, the barreleye fish has a transparent head and face.

The fish was caught on camera off the coast of California by researchers Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler using a remote operated vehicle. Although the fish was known as far back as 1939, only now do we have pictures and videos of it.

Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) observed that the fish stays motionless most of the time with its greenish eyes pointed upwards to detect the silhouette of prey. Previously, it was believed that eyes, which are extremely sensitive to light, was fixed in place giving the fish only the view of what's above it. But, the researchers from MBARI have discovered that the eyes can rotate within its transparent forehead allowing the fish to see forwards.

"Beneath the shield is a fluid-filled chamber that surrounds or protects the eyes. Scales are present just behind the eyes at the nape of the back, within this chamber. Separating the eyes is a thin, bony septum that expands posteriorly to enclose the brain. In living specimens, eye lenses are a vivid green colour."

I have seen transparent animals before, like jellyfish, but nothing as impressive looking as this. Check out the video below.




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