Monday, February 23, 2009

Fish's eyes peer out through transparent head

If it were not for the hard evidence of an ROV's video images and the capture of a live specimen, no one would believe this one.
The barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) has a transparent shield over the upper half of its head, like one of those science fiction monsters with a see-through domed skull. The fish was first caught in 1939, but the original specimens were in bad shape after being hauled from their Pacific habitat 600-800 meters down. Only now do we understand how truly weird this thing is. Tubular, light-sensitive eyes with bright green tips can turn in any direction, including upward to look through the fluid-filled "dome."
COMMENT: Can you imagine how an eyewitness report alone would be taken? The diver having the sighting would be rushed to a decompression chamber, if not to a psychiatric hospital.

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