Macropinna Microstoma: Fish with a Transparent Head

Posted on March 3, 2009  Comments (3)

That is a pretty awesome fish. 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.

Deep-sea fish have adapted to their pitch-black environment in a variety of amazing ways. Several species of deep-water fishes in the family Opisthoproctidae are called “barreleyes” because their eyes are tubular in shape. Barreleyes typically live near the depth where sunlight from the surface fades to complete blackness. They use their ultra-sensitive tubular eyes to search for the faint silhouettes of prey overhead.

Full press release

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3 Responses to “Macropinna Microstoma: Fish with a Transparent Head”

  1. Char
    March 3rd, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

    What an ugly looking fish. It’s amazing how it’s adapted to live in the deep like that. There are some truly amazing animals on this planet.

  2. Anonymous
    March 7th, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    This shows once again how creative and diverse the universe is, just in our own backyard. It never ceases to amaze me and unlike the previous commenter I find this fish very beautiful. Reminds me of this story of transparent, eyeless critters recently discovered in some deep cave environment (I believe in Israel).

  3. Fun Webcast from WWF: Astonish Me » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    September 5th, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    Made in celebration of the World Wildlife Fund‘s 50th anniversary…

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