Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Ever seen a barreleye fish? Me neither

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) recently filmed a rarely seen fish, deep in the ocean off the coast of California.

The barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma) has a bulbous translucent head, and its light-sensitive eyes, which glow bright green in the camera's light, are housesd inside the fluid-filled shield that covers the fish's head. It's eyes can be orientated either straight up or straight ahead as needed. The two dark-coloured spots at the front of the fish's head, which look like eyes, are actually it's smell organs. The fish lurks around motionless in the twilight zone of the deep ocean waiting for unwary zooplankton or jellyfish, which it then snaps up.

The barreleye fish is probably not that rare, but has only been seen a total of nine times, and this is the best video footage obtained thus far. 

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