Bizarre fish with transparent head and tubular eyes spotted

Bizarre fish with transparent head and tubular eyes spotted


17 December 2021

Thousands of feet beneath the surface of Monterey Bay off California, researchers with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) captured footage of a bizarre creature, known as a barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma).

"Two small recesses, where the eyes can be normal to a fish, are actually the barreleye olfactory organs and the eyes are two bright green spheres behind his face that face the top of his head," MBARI said.

The weird green-looking eyes are usually looking straight up, which researchers believe results from the fish hovering below the tentacles of siphonophores and stealing their food. The eyes of the barreleye fish aren't fixed up though, they have been observed to shift forward to see the food that the fish is eating. The barreleye lives between 600 and 800 meters below the surface (at 200 meters the sunlight disappears) and the sight of its species is extremely rare.

Even though scientists have sent their remotely operated vehicles (ROV) on more than 5,600 dives in the fish’s habitat, they have only spotted the species nine times.

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