Saturday, July 18, 2020

Ultra-black nightmare fish reveal secrets of deep-ocean camouflage

They're the goths of the deep, like Vantablack with fins.

A deep-sea dragonfish has ultra-black skin capable of absorbing bioluminescent light. It also has great teeth.
Karen Osborn, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Goths know black is cool. Some scary-looking fish swimming the ocean depths know it too. Researchers are unlocking the deep, dark secrets of blacker-than-black fish that have developed special skin characteristics to help them hide from predators that use bioluminescence to hunt.

The team of researchers, including lead author Alexander Davis, a doctoral student in biology at Duke University, published a study on the ultra-black fish in the journal Current Biology (PDF) on Thursday. They identified at least 16 species of deep-sea-dwelling fish with skin that absorbs over 99.5% percent of light. It's the ultimate camouflage for the inky depths of the ocean.  

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