Psychedelica & Barreleye
(Top Posts - Science - 022509)

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ScienceDaily (Feb. 25, 2009) - "Psychedelica" seems the
perfect name for a species of fish that is a wild swirl of tan
and peach zebra stripes and behaves in ways contrary to
its brethren.


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Psychedelica Photo
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Psychedelica is perhaps even more apt given the cockamamie
way the fish swim, some with so little control they look intox-
icated and should be cited for DUI.

Members of Histiophryne psychedelica, or H. psychedelica,
don't so much swim as hop. Each time they strike the seafloor
they use their fins to push off and they expel water from tiny
gill openings on their sides to jettison themselves forward.

With tails curled tightly to one side -which surely limits their
ability to steer - they look like inflated rubber balls bouncing
hither and thither.


Fins on either side of their bodies have, as with other frogfish,
evolved to be leg-like, and members of H. psychedelica actu-
ally prefer crawling to swimming.

The species has a flattened face with eyes directed forward.
 ... the species may have binocular vision, that is, vision that
overlaps in front, like it does in humans. Most fish, with eyes
on either side of their head, don't have vision that overlaps;
instead they see different things with each eye.

See a QuickTime video of a juvenile hopping along - it's also
being buffeted by currents - at

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February 23, 2009

Weird Fish With Transparent Head
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Barreleye photo 
Barreleye: The fish's tubular eyes are capped by bright green
lenses. The eyes point upward when the fish is looking for
food overhead. They point forward when the fish is feeding.
The two spots above the fish's mouth are are olfactory organs
called nares, which are analogous to human nostrils.

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Barreleye video
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The fish likely evolved this way in order to survive in the pitch-
blackness of the deep sea. Its super-light-sensitive eyes make
out shadows and shapes of prey above.

Once it spots a potential meal, the eyes shift forward and the
fish swims towards it. If all goes according to plan, it has a
tasty treat.

The researchers think that the green pigment in the eyes may
help the fish locate bioluminescent prey, including jellyfish, by
filtering out the rare sunlight that does make it to the sea depths.

The new research also turned up another surprising fact about
the fish: its head is enclosed by a see-through, fluid-filled shield.


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