Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amazing Pacific barreleye fish

No, this is not a B-rated horror flick. The fish with a transparent "cockpit-like" head actually exists. File this one in the "Truth is stranger than fiction" file.

It doesn't matter if you believe in natural selection, intelligent design or divine intervention, this kind of stuff is awe-inspiring. Nature's design strategy -- even when it results in creations bordering on the bizarre/weird/grotesque (depending on the eye of the beholder, obviously) -- always seems to reveal some underlying essence of beauty related to the integration of form and function. (GW)

First Photos: Weird Fish With Transparent Head

National Geographic News

February 23, 2009

With a head like a fighter-plane cockpit, a Pacific barreleye fish shows off its highly sensitive, barrel-like eyes--topped by green, orblike lenses--in a picture released today but taken in 2004.

The fish, discovered alive in the deep water off California's central coast by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), is the first specimen of its kind to be found with its soft transparent dome intact.

The 6-inch (15-centimeter) barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) had been known since 1939--but only from mangled specimens dragged to the surface by nets.


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