Scientists from several US universities have studied the unusual deep-sea fish of the hauliods and cyclotons genus – their skin has the ability to absorb 99.5% of light, making them almost invisible.
Researchers have found these fish off the coast of California and the Gulf of Mexico. Black skin makes them invisible to predators, which is especially important at great depths, where sunlight does not enter.
Scientists used microscopy to study the unique skin of these fish, and discovered a layer of densely packed melonos that contains melanin. This layer is close to the surface of the skin, there are almost no non-pigmented areas in it. Thanks to this, even the scattered light is completely absorbed – and only 0.05% of the light is reflected.
Through modeling, it was found that the black coloration of deep-sea fish helps them survive – reducing the reflectivity of the skin from 2% to 1% reduced the distance at which fish are visible to predators by 29%. If it drops to 0.5–0.05%, the distance can be reduced to 84%.
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