Fish with transparent head

Since 1939, scientists have thought the "barreleye" fish Macropinna microstoma had "tunnel vision" due to eyes that were fixed in place. Now though, Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers show that the fish actually has a transparent head and the eyes rotate around inside of it. From the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:
 News News Releases 2009 Barreleye Barreleye1-350
(Bruce) Robison and (Kim) Reisenbichler used video from MBARI's remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to study barreleyes in the deep waters just offshore of Central California. At depths of 600 to 800 meters (2,000 to 2,600 feet) below the surface, the ROV cameras typically showed these fish hanging motionless in the water, their eyes glowing a vivid green in the ROV's bright lights. The ROV video also revealed a previously undescribed feature of these fish--its eyes are surrounded by a transparent, fluid-filled shield that covers the top of the fish's head.

Most existing descriptions and illustrations of this fish do not show its fluid-filled shield, probably because this fragile structure was destroyed when the fish were brought up from the deep in nets. However, Robison and Reisenbichler were extremely fortunate--they were able to bring a net-caught barreleye to the surface alive, where it survived for several hours in a ship-board aquarium. Within this controlled environment, the researchers were able to confirm what they had seen in the ROV video--the fish rotated its tubular eyes as it turned its body from a horizontal to a vertical position.
"Researchers solve mystery of deep-sea fish with tubular eyes and transparent head" (Thanks, Justin Ried!)


  1. Dave, your brain could get sunburned! It’s a very Robby the Robot kinda look. Splice in a few glow genes and it gets evern cooler.

  2. I am blown away! So odd…so amazing…and that picture! It makes me wonder if it’s even possible for us to ever know all the secrets of this fascinating planet.
    Kudos to those Monteray Bay Aquarium researchers!

  3. Definitely ‘neat’ but this also makes me sad: Thankfully we confirmed that the fish’s head is transparent as it died a horrible and traumatic death. The heroic fish sacrificed itself for the advancement of science. All praise to the knowledgemakers!

  4. Dude, check out the casemod on my fish! Just needs some sound-activated el-wire. And it’s already water-cooled of course.

  5. It’s amazing that even the best science fiction writers can’t seem to come up with aliens as cool or strange as the creatures we’re still discovering on our own planet.

  6. You know there are going to be some transparented-headed aliens hitting the slushpile in short order! Stuff like this is why I love BoingBoing. Thanks, guys.

  7. I stil have vivid memory of one of my first diving experiences and seeing firsthand just how electric and bright natural colouration can be, even under filtered sunlight. Just a common variety of angelfish, but outlined perfectly by a neon strip of violet blue.

  8. Finally some clear pictures! I saw this fish months ago at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Got home, wanted to show others, couldn’t find a decent picture! TY!

  9. The giant Grof was hit in one eye by a stone.
    His eye turned inwards
    so that he saw inside his own mind.
    He died of what he saw there.

    With apologies to McKillip, I think… awesome fish. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could see inside their own heads?

  10. That’s cool but kinda sad. Does that mean the fish died after several hours out of it’s environment? If so, it’s pretty sad that they killed it to study it.

  11. Okay, they say they brought one up alive and it survived several hours on a ship. What I want to know is, did it then die, or did they throw it back?

  12. We have no right bringing those creatures to the surface, just to watch them die. That is too high a price to pay for human curiosity.

  13. I’m not any sort of a tree hugger but was it really necessary to bring the fish to the surface to confirm what the researchers had already seen? Yeah, it’s just a fish, but it seems like a waste to kill it just so you can go, “Yup, that’s what I thought!” And yes I know that’s not the point of the story, I get the point and it really is fascinating and I’m glad we have the ability to do this research. Keep up the great work.

  14. “…they were able to bring a net-caught barreleye to the surface alive, where it survived for several hours in a ship-board aquarium.”


  15. Kinda makes me wonder why it didn’t evolve the rest of its body to be clear.. maybe its shy? OH its probably hiding something… I bet its favorite color is clear..

  16. “Robison and Reisenbichler were extremely fortunate–they were able to bring a net-caught barreleye to the surface alive, where it survived for several hours” – HRY!!! THY WR “FRTNT” NGH T KLL/MRDR N MZNG RR LVNG CRTR – GV M’ DM MDL!!!

  17. And just think it could have still been an amazing fish had it been allowed to live. Thats the problem with these researchers Kill all in the name of science is suppose!

  18. @#24: It definitely looks similar, but it’s more like choosing to peer out of the side of the damn thing when you’ve already built the front port.

  19. That’s why we need to stay on our planet and see what we have here. And stop flying off millions of dollars in to space.

  20. This is amazing. It is also further evidence that life is not a system of evolution, of chance, but rather was created by Almighty God, with every species being unique in its own way. Saying this could come about by evolution is like putting engine parts in a box, shaking it, and coming out with a Hemi. Only God could bring a fish like this into being.

  21. poor fish had to die for us to find out that its head is in fact see-through. what good does this do, what purpose did the fish die for? such a waste. how many did they kill trying to bring to the surface through the nets?

  22. “…they were able to bring a net-caught barreleye to the surface alive, where it survived for several hours in a ship-board aquarium.”

    so glad we could kill such a beautiful creature just for our amusement. cuz knowing it has this shield is gonna cure cancer or something. glad 2 know no one is wasting their time or our tax dollars.


  23. Obviously, the researchers made a mistake. That is not fish. That is a submarine model XQZ11 belonging to the tiny Atlantean race, but if it makes you happy you can call a fish.

  24. COOL!!! It’s sad that it died though. And this goes to the people who want a transparent head: Ew. You can see all the blood veins and your brain and other icky stuff. I’d rather be bald, David.

  25. it’s so sad that they have to kill these lovely creatures to get an up close look a them, but it’s all in the name of science, right?

  26. Obviously the researchers made a mistake. That is not a fish. That is a submarine model QXZ11 belonging to the tiny Atlantean race. If it makes you happy you can call it a fish.

  27. I think this is really really cool. But it makes me mad that they keep killing these fish..
    i want to know.. did they keep netting them because they wanted to learn more about them? or was it like fisherman getting food?

    Either way, leave them alone.
    THANKS (:

  28. Wow! Same planet as us and all other creations, but almost in a league of it’s own…. Wonder what it looked like before evolving into that… It does, however, look like a cheap, condom-ized science project from a hillbilly or sumpin’

  29. @27 I’ve got some books for you. There are plenty of lifeforms, all naturally evolved, that are just as wonderful. And no, I don’t want to talk about religion on a perfectly good fish thread.

  30. Cool, but I want to know is it tastier broiled, or fried in batter, and which is a better side…cocktail sauce or tartar sauce…Robert

  31. You know… it took them ALL those years to figure that out when it almost seems to be a logically drawn conclusion.

  32. So I see you have something on your mind……no seriously there’s something on your mind – maybe it’s a tumor…haha

  33. Hah … so those 2 round things are not the brains … well that explains a lot …
    Also *43 .. it’s called evolution … it’s a mutated fish (long time ago) that survived in the food chain by its distinct genetic potential … it’s not a creation of a fictional character that a curtain book claims it to exist (the book which is also shows no clear evidence and just asks you to have “FATE” in it)

    so I recommend you to gt yr hd t f yr ss fr sc bcs bvsly ts not getting enough oxygen.

  34. This research it in fact a very neat find. However, I feel that the researchers were negligent toward this fish that was brought up for a few hours that ended up dying. I see that as a failed researcher who could not take into consideration of what could happen to the fish instead of figuring out what to do if the health of basically the guinea pig fish would not survive our new environment for it. What an absolute shame. I believe strongly that all other creatures on earth no matter what species they are have jsut as much of a right to be here as humans do. So does that mean we should take a perfectly healthy human and study it in a complete new environement and leave it there no matter if the human dies. Most people would Not, but no one ever takes in consideration of other species in the same situation.

  35. It was most likely a research fish trying to figure out how to lure the air beings under the water for dissection.. With a head like that, you will KNOW if you cleaned behind your ears..

  36. that’s stupid wasting a beatiful and rare creature to “study” great. Oh and how many more are you planning to kill. Oops I mean study

  37. Wow. Was it really worth dragging this fish up from the depths of it’s home, forcing it into a aquarium, and slowly dying from the shock of capture and forced transplantation…just so scientists could watch it ROTATE IT’S EYES WHEN IT MOVED?? God I hope my tax dollars didn’t pay for that too!

  38. “…where it survived for several hours in a ship-board aquarium.”

    For several hours??? So the fish died? Why would they let the fish die?

  39. “The thing with the whole “eye moves around in head” is pretty creepy, fish”, I said.

    -fish just looks at me-

    “Hey don’t give me that look…”

  40. So many people here are whining that mean ol’ scientists caused a fishy to die. Dudes, sometimes this is how we learn about the world we live in. Ever see an entomologist’s butterfly collection? Or Charles Darwin’s finches?

    Just because this creature is a poorly understood species doesn’t mean it’s endangered. People catch and eat millions of fish a day, why get so worked up over one?

    1. Dudes, sometimes this is how we learn about the world we live in.

      If you go to the California Academy of Sciences, you can read the original journals from Darwin’s expeditions to the Galapagos. They talk about finding a tortoise, identifying it as the last member of its species and then cooking it for dinner. Scientists have no better morals and no greater wisdom than the mass of humanity. They just have a work method and a little bit of specialized knowledge. That doesn’t constitute a Get Out Of Ethics Free card.

  41. Woah really that is soo cool. i always love mysteriyes like that. I always knew that anything was possible.

  42. Wow! A lot of you are concerned about the dead fish. Well, then let’s have a moment of silence. NO, Seriously. Silence everyone!

  43. Umm…Why don’t they bring the fish up in tanks instead of nets so maybe they won’t die, or be injured?

  44. Huzzah #75
    Everyone keeps saying they muredered the fish. I highly doubt the researchers were standing over the tank laughing manicaly as it was dying… I could be wrong… who knows

  45. D: I hope they eat the fish to discover it’s poisonous. It’d be for science. Why kill something just to study it. I could’ve lived my entire life without knowing this fish existed.

  46. Is it really that surprising, there are other animals that are clear. Some glow in the dark. Some live in water and on land. Diversity abounds on our planet, and probably elsewhere.

  47. They were not supposed to tell. Now everyone will want one. California still has a a few unknown treasures The ocean so many, many more.

  48. Brainspore (#75) said it best. This message comes from a retired professor who, for several decades, taught graduate courses that dealt with fishes and their biology. When (or if) I reached the point in my courses dealing with barreleyes, I (and others in my profession) had a difficult time trying to explain why a deep-water fish would have upward-projecting eyes. Thanks to the eventual death of this one specimen, that question has now been answered and our knowledge about fishes living in depths of our oceans has been increased — well worth the life of one fish.

  49. I’m both a scientist and an environmentalist, so I’m on both sides of the knowledge/ethics debate. Having specialized in fish, I definitely understand the “why doesn’t anyone care about fish?” thing. My theory is that it’s because they’re not furry and cute.

    However, sometimes research leads to unexpected results. Someone asked if this would cure cancer and who really knows? Studies of arctic fish lead to gene splicing to create oranges that were highly resistant to frost damage. Not what the original researchers had in mind, but it ended up helping. I hate to compare orange juice to cancer, but if we can do things like that, who’s to say that the answer isn’t somewhere in the deep where we can’t get to it by any other means?

    About bringing them up in tanks instead of nets, they’re bodies are designed to live in high pressure and aquaria simply don’t have that kind of power. Maybe someday, but not yet.

  50. @ Andinous #82:

    …Scientists have no better morals and no greater wisdom than the mass of humanity. They just have a work method and a little bit of specialized knowledge. That doesn’t constitute a Get Out Of Ethics Free card.

    True that. But the death of a totally awesome fish in the name of scientific discovery should create no more of a “moral dilemma” than the death of a boring fish in the name of dinner, unless of course the aforementioned fish is endangered.

  51. i want a transparent head fish!
    It sux that it died.
    This is the best thing that I’ve read all day.
    It makes me happy to see weird fishies!

  52. what if that fish was the first of a new speices that would transform into another intelignet life? what if that fly my brother just smoshed was about to teleport! LOL!

  53. This reminds me of the song
    but instead F O T H it is

    “and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round”

  54. @ #35 & #79 – prove evolution.

    In it’s current form, evolution does not even pass the scientific standard for a theory. It should still be called a hypothesis. It will never truly make it to the theory stage because it is pseudo-science.

  55. One man just mught realize that he or she truely does not know anything or at least very very very little. I still beleive that we only know 1/10000000000 of one percent that exists in the entire universe, so never let any man tell you that something is not possible! We just have not decovered just of yet!

    1. But the real question is, did the tortoise TASTE good?

      150 year-old Galapagos tortoise? It wouldn’t be my first choice for dinner. With all those tasty, young marine iguanas running around, eating the tortoise was just spiteful.

  56. I know nobody will read my comment way down here, but I’d like to give credit where it’s due.
    This was not the work of some random explosion.
    The Lord God did this.
    Like, wow.

  57. When I read articles such as this I sometimes feel ashamed to be a human. With all these brains it didn’t occur to them to create an aquarium that would have allowed to creature to live, thus giving them more time to study it? We obviously haven’t evolved as much as we like to think.

    Wolves have a better moral system than humans do.

    @82 You are right on the money..

  58. I think I’m related to this fish…my wife has been telling me that I’m transparent for many years…….

  59. Oh man! I saw this on the World Weekly News website and just assumed it was fake.

    So it looks like Bat Boy endorsing Obama was real, then too.

  60. I think the people worring about this “poor fish” dying and those wondering about taste need to know they are not rare nor in danger of extintion but worst of all max size 4.4 cm. A big Anchovy is 15 cm so you are not going to taste much at all!

  61. I love the way people get hysterical about a single fish being caught, examined and killed for the purposes of scientific research.

    Get some perspective. What about all the bird life, adult sea-turtles and dolphins that die daily in drift nets and on long lines, so we can enjoy a tuna sandwich? What about the poor dam tuna?

    Vegan anti-vivisection activists only on that one, please.

  62. This is the type of thing that gives science a bad name. Empathy and scientific curiosity do not have to be mutually exclusive. They got their information, they knew the fish could not survive, why didn’t they throw it back? I remember a story of scientist watching orphaned seals crying out for help, knowing they were doomed, but refusing to help them because it would “interfere”. Man has already interfered so much to the bad – let’s interfere a little for the good.

  63. To all the people complaining that the fish died..

    please get over yourselves..

    How may animals died to clear the land to grow the organic soybeans used to make your organic tofu you had for lunch? probably more than one…. and NOTHING was learned from the deaths of those animals..

    Just because you never killed an animal yourself or are a vegetarian chances are 100s of animals die every year to keep you alive, if you use electricity or the public water supply, you’ve participated in the killing of animals.
    Thousands of Birds are electrocuted on power lines and killed by electric wind turbines every year, fish as sucked into turbines in hydroelectric plants and killed, and forest is cleared to grow crops for out ever growing population..

    Scientists sometimes have to sacrifice one animal to learn information used to save an entire species.

  64. Simply throwing it back would actually be more torture because the environment would be closer to what it’s used to, but still different enough to kill it. It would survive longer, yes, but there’s no way it would be able to swim 5-6 miles down before dying. It would only drag it out. Returning every organism that researchers study to its original habitat would go way beyond budget. I know that money shouldn’t interfere with ethics, but if every scientific venture were a 2-way trip, people would be screaming about wasted tax dollars.

  65. I will just say one thing… “Glory be to God the best creator of all the heavens and earth and everything in betweeen”

  66. @ Anonymous #107:

    When I read articles such as this I sometimes feel ashamed to be a human…

    …Wolves have a better moral system than humans do.

    Uninformed comments like that are what give animal rights advocates a bad name. Number one, wolves murder each other at a rate far greater than human beings do. Number two, we are the only species that would even take another animal’s suffering into ACCOUNT when shaping our behavior.

    Human beings commit morally repugnant acts all the time, but allowing the death of one non-endangered fish??

  67. Interesting article, but someone should ask why one of these innocent fish was caught in a net and brought to the surface, then allowed to die. If a creature cannot be observed in order to learn more about it, without killing it, then it should not be observed. Shame on these people for causing this fish to die!

  68. the wonder and attention this fish generates may be worth the price of its life if it makes people think something lives down there and maybe we shouldn’t throw our plutonium overboard.

  69. @82 the file say the LAST of its species if he didnt eat it it would have died alone with no contribution to the world

  70. Okay, I can understand both sides of this. On one hand, we have the people who are worried about the fish. Yes, it is a pretty sad thing that the fish died. Yes, it IS horrible that it was just to find out its head was transparent because its eyes are fixed in place. But it is a fish, and we are humans, and we are at the top of the foodchain.

    And many other chains, i’m sure.

    On the other hand, no one really knows how many fish have died to try to find out that its head is transparent. Just one in the name of science, probably definitly doesn’t apply here. Yeah, I mean, it’s just a fish, and we are humans, but why should that mean that we should kill random animals, not to eat them or anything? Just to look at them for a few hours? And of course, there are more. Hopefully. So why does one or two dead really matter?

    I completely understand both sides. So I understand the dilemmas everyone has with all of this. I personally think we should just stop disecting things to understand how they work, ya know what I mean?


  71. And they all wonder why this country is in a depression cause they wast all that money on things like this i mean who cares.

  72. It is incredibly sad that there are apparently so many ignorant people in our society that could get upset over this one fish, or even a barrel of such fish. As long as they are not endangered, why would we not want to learn more about them? Clearly this article says nothing to make a reader believe this fish is either endangered OR that the scientists treated it anyway but humanly. Come on people, sometimes in the pursuit of education and science there will be casualties. That is a simple fact. It was not complainers and/or protesters that discovered anti-biotics or performed the first heart bypass surgery, it was our scientific community. We would still live in the dark ages without the evolution of the human mind (although clearly from the comments there are some less evolved minds reading this thread). I, for one, thank those people that dedicate their lives and careers to discovery, science and medicine.

    With all that said, yes, this is an amazing and strangely beautiful fish. I should not have imagined something like this was roaming our ocean’s depths.

  73. For those of you appalled at the story that a curiously strange and relatively uniquie living thing was [evidently] sacrificed in the name of science… please try to put into perspective that sometimes adverse outcomes occur in order to better understand the fascinating world we all live in.

    Would you prefer we all still be huddled in caves, foraging and eating roots and dying needlessly from our ignorance about diseases, sanitation and poisonous plants…things we all consider rather common knowledge now?

    One fish [allegedly] dying to further man’s scientific knowledge… Is that such a high price to pay? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the last one of its kind!

  74. @#120

    See this isn’t a waste of money. This is a contribution to human knowledge, to our understanding.

    Pizza pockets for your toaster are a waste of money. Your second car is a waste of money.

    I hear people talk about a manned mission to Mars as a vast waste of resources. I’ve heard that mission estimated to cost about the same as the trans-atlantic perfume trade for one year. So which of those is more important?

    Yes, we need to get our priorities straight, and at first glance it seems disproportionate to spend money on science when millions starve. But it’s an artificial dilemma.

    The money we spend on pure science is a fraction of the money we spend on defence. We can explore the solar system, understand deep sea marine life, and all have enough to eat.

    But not invade every country in the Middle East as well.

  75. when they said the fish rolled over from horizontal to vertical does that mean the fish died? sorry im only 9

  76. Indeed, it’s a bit silly to get worked up over a dead fish. There are plenty of advancements in the field of oceanography that have been made due to studying deep-sea fish. And it’s inevitable that the fish is going to die. No kidding, it’s dramatically switching to an environment of far less pressure. Stuff happens people. Take the deep sea vents for example. The study of those are of vast importance because it helps us learn about our underwater geography and resources (that we may utilize in the future). And how did we learn more about these resources? Pulling up specimen from the ocean floor. They die but its definitely not in vain. And just because only a few fish of this species has been found, does NOT mean that it’s endangered or few in existence. There could be millions and you wouldn’t even know it.

  77. Ok, to post #16:

    Brainspore, at the risk of sounding like an uber-nerd, I feel compelled to mention that mainstream sci-fi has already imagined a creature with a see-through skull ^.~ On Star Trek DS9, Jadzia Dax dated (although the character was never shown, I believe) a ship captain with a transparent skull.

    To #43:

    Padre, why didn’t your god put the eyes on the outside to begin with? Was he in the kitchen making guacamole whilst creating this fish?

    “Hmmm, this guac needs some more cilantro- oh, crap. Put the darned thing’s eyes on the inside. Oh, well. When life gives you lemons…”

  78. One can only marvel at the ingenuity that underlies seeming random acts of evolution in a tireless effort to seek new adaptations of life. It’s an absolute, wonderful, marvelous thing, indeed.

  79. animal rights folks just take things too far sometimes… it’s just a fish, that could, in any other way, naturally have been killed by any predator(man inclusive) on the top of the food chain… they keep thinking that life is a cartoon sometimes… like a fish would grow up to have kids and loved ones that would miss them when they die. they lack the very understanding of nature sometimes.

  80. Well said #141. For heaven’s sake, it’s ONE FISH. And this ONE FISH just saved us from having to possibly kill MORE FISH. Get the picture?

  81. OMG #96 i love that song! the beatles are amazing! and so is this fish. i wonder how big they are? cause i want one now.

    and about the whole ethics vs. science debate, my side is: don’t kill. killing is bad. fish are friends, not food… or science expirements.

    but honestly, the only way to figure things out is by trying. trial is only half of trial and error. the other half is the bad part. deal with it, guys: remember smallpox epidemics? people took chances by giving victims (or would-be victims)cowpox to test whether or not it could prevent smallpox. this enabled them to stop the epidemic before it killed everyone. and yes, it was dangerous, but sometimes taking chances with one living being is the only way to help a billion others.

  82. Umm… the trauma of bringing the fish up to the surface is what killed it, not putting it in a tank for a few hours.

    It’s still sacrifice in the name of science, but that’s an important distinction!

    If it wasn’t so cute, would you still care as much? awwww look at those eyes.. oh wait, that’s its brain

  83. To all the people complaining that the fish died..
    this fish would’ve taken YOU out, if he could.
    Also, I’m sure these scientists would have saved the fishy if they could’ve. I doubt they were laughing malevolently as they threw the corpse overboard.

  84. for almost fifty years, I thought of this fish as having domed eyes set in barrels, fixed upright (based on first drawings and diagrams I saw). Even after doing enough diving to have a good sense of how different textbook and lecture hall reality is from the actual sea, it heartens to realize I can still feel basic wonder. It’s nice being wrong.

  85. I believe this fish is an alien being. It’s microscopic egg slipped through our atmosphere and fell to the ocean where it could grow and multiply. One day these fish will evolve and mutate into creatures that will rise from the depths of the ocean to devour all warm blooded animals, including the human race.

    The ocean is a perfect environment for spawning such a diabolical creature because it can exist for centuries without detection. Then just as ants all sting at the same time, these creatures will spontaneously begin their attack on all animal life on earth.

    They will get revenge for the scientist who killed their ancestors by bringing them to the surface just to look at them. This will mark the next great episode in the evolution of our planet.

    And so it goes…

  86. Hey, anyone for sushi? I gotta admit, seaweed WAS tempting, but then again the market is SO expensive for it, sometimes I bet they gotta go 2600 ft. deep to catch one or two of these strange guys and see who gets the knife in first! But as for me, no thanks, I only eat the tuna…

  87. Why oh why do they have to bring it into our cruel world. They are content where they are!!! Find a dead one, bring that up.

  88. I’d happily die if this many people ranted and raved over how cool I was. Get over it, it’s a damned FISH (there’s more in the sea!)!

  89. #150 is right. But perhaps dead bodies are hard to come by in the ocean oh-so-deep.

    Few points:

    1) I understand those pitying the fish. I pity it too because I hate to see anything allowed to die/killed/murdered/slaughtered, etc. I love all life, especially worms, fish, reptiles, and plants. It probably had a pretty terrifying end and I hope it wasn’t too painful or horrific.

    2) I understand those saying the fish is “just one fish”. It’s true. We eat all sorts of things all day. Life is life and in order to live, anything heterotrophic needs to eat. I think people are just unwilling to understand that much of scientific material is not collected when something is alive; we can only know the true nature of every piece of an animal after studying its corpse.

    3) I DON’T understand why people are arguing about it (although I do see that this is far more civilized than most arguments/discussions I’ve seen before) when the fish is already dead. We can hope that the scientists have all they need from this dead specimen so they don’t need to sacrifice another life. Chances are, though, that it won’t be the last funny-looking fish to die.

    We have to accept that we are not omniscient and that we cannot just look at something and know all there is to know about it. Because of our lack of knowledge and magical powers, we have to kill to gain knowledge.

  90. Perhaps it is very intriguing that such a discovery is made. However the setbacks from people of a narrow mindset has been and will always be the bane of scientific research. it is unfortunate. Altough, congratulations to the scientists who made the research, as it could prove to be beneficial in the future. :)

  91. this is so cool!!! but the fishy is really cute!! but creepy, like are those green things its eye scokets? lol. but poor fishy, he died because of the curiosity of the world. awww!!! lol. but it is a really neat picture. i wish i had a transparent head!!! it almost looks animated.

  92. ….what a fish,lol…maybe if i eat it …im sure fulll lol..

    so..weird fish got transparent head ..that meanz we can see the empty brain lol..


  93. The reason why this fish is able to survive is because it is in the ocean and hard to be seen.
    1. Transparent Head
    2. Dark Skin (The ocean is dark)

    If an animal with a transparent head lived on land, most likely, the brain could be burned and infect the brain. That could easily kill the animal and make them became extinct.

  94. I am amazed that they haven`t been able to find a similar kind of fish stuffed with fruit and all sorts of JELL-O in it, I`ve seen some Bear shaped things in the fridge section of some super markets and they all have little colored squares and fruits in them. Did they also killed them for us to enjoy??

  95. no one should be ridiculed for feeling sorry for the fish! yes, learning new things is wonderful, but so is sympathy. my automatic reaction to the article was discomfort at the thought of something dying slowly over several hours in an unfamiliar place. yes, i still found the article interesting, but i felt really sorry for the living thing that probably died quite tormented, not because of the way it was treated, but because it was in an unfamiliar place in conditions that it couldn’t live in.
    kudos to the people who were able to at least feel compassion for the animal.

  96. what wonders from depths unseen the trawl brings forth. Strange creatures beyond our ken and passing strange in their ability to cling to life in a hostile world despite their apparent circumscribed faculties. (I never said I was nice)

  97. I believe I am going to genetically modify myself so I am invisible just like the fish. Then I could go anywhere and check out the chicks. Hell, my motives are already transparent now so being invisible would be the icing on the cake.

  98. Have you ever wondered?

    why we know so much about outer space but so little about our deep blue sea…

    Like this Fish,

    everything comes and goes and there is always and end to things…. but you better watch out…. this is just the beginning.

  99. im with #75 on this one. everyone needs to just stop whining about one fish. it never said that it was endangered and that do you really think that one fish is going to make a huge difference in the ecosystem? besides by the time they let it go it would have been too late to release it anyways. that fish was from 2600 feet down. there is no sunlight down there, so when they brought it up to the surface it probably was blinded from not being able to cover it’s eye’s like some species of squid that get captured. you have to catch them in a non-transparent container or else the exposure to the sun will make them die. don’t get me wrong i know that killing things just to kill isn’t right, but there are so many things that we can learn from it now. i believe every animal has a place in this world, right next to the ‘taters and carrots.

    p.s. what about the greenland shark? anyone ever heard of that? they don’t know anything about them and yet mike rowe on his show dirty jobs killed one for the name of science and i don’t hear anyone bitching about that. nxt tm smn wnts t pst sm stpd cmmnt n hr, thy shld gt n dctn frst. myb tk blgy

  100. This just sounds too fishy to me. Fishy tales…Fishy comments…it’s even leaving a Fishy taste in my mouth. Now, that could just be the sushi that I just ate. :) Fish out!

  101. xcpt fr cmmnts frm ths wh knw smthng bt blgy, spclly blgy f fshs nd th cns nd th dpths n whch ths fsh spcs lvs, hv nvr n my 75 yrs f lf sn sch stpdty pstd n ny wbst thn mny f th rspnss n ths tpc. It appears that nobody wants to know or appreciate something totally unknown by scientists before this discovery and many respondents could care less.
    The death of one fish taught us far more than we knew before and corrected misconceptions that go well back into the late 1800s when earlier specimens were brought to the surface in nets with their transparent eye-coverings collapsed.
    This is not an endagered species but a new find that increases our knowledge about this wonderful world in which we all live.

  102. That’s not a rare fish. There is no shortage of barreleyes. When you fish in Monterey Bay, you never know what you might catch. There is alot of commercial, scientific, and sport fishing in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. It’s all heavily regulated. It’s the Salmon that you all should be irate about. They have almost disappeared along the Eastern Pacific, from Northern Cali up to Canada. The Mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the worlds oceans. They don’t kill or allow to die needlessly. The commercial fishermen do however. Direct your ire at them, not PhD’s that mean no harm and are trying to unlock natures’ secrets and learn from them. This fish is all about natural selection. Kp gd t f t bbl thmprs.

  103. but surely the salmon have offended god and are righteously smitten by his sore wrath for their fishy, fishy sins.

  104. You’ve got to be kidding me, people! It’s just a fish! LOL A worm wiggles like crazy–like it’s in intense pain–when it gets cut in half but I bet none of you would be upset if a worm died for science!! (How about we cut a worm in half to catch one of these for breakfast tomorrow! ;-)

  105. Science is awesome! I can’t believe you guys are freaking over this one tiny fish. It’s beautiful but it’s not endangered or anything geez.

  106. @ #43:

    On the contrary, Pedro, this actually only further proves evolution. Because it dwells so deep in the ocean where sunlight is minimal and/or completely nonexistent, its dark and transparent body makes it a less likely target for predators. Evolving to outsmart the fellows higher than you on the food chain is natural selection at its finest; it’s basically evolution 101.

  107. Clearly, Takuan. And his followers are such experts on the physiology of deep sea teleost’s that they can make conclusions based on a major lack of knowledge, information, and experience. Thumpers, if you don’t know what you’re talking about please do not draw easy conclusions. It’s all so much more complicated than you can imagine, and in that it is sooo much more beautiful than a simple answer that ‘god did it’. We should be past Bronze Age Mythology by now. Please update yourselves, or go away to Utah, Afghanistan, or Waco and keep your easy answers to yourselves

    1. Delthalas,

      Please read the Moderation Policy (linked at the top of the page) on civil discourse.

  108. That is by far the most amazing fish I have ever seen. The deep ocean has many mysteries yet to be seen.

  109. Too bad that people have to drag religion and politics into this. Life is so vast and wonderful already, without being cheapened.

    The urge to explore is why humans have made themselves supreme here. To deny that urge is insane.

    If you’re not interested in exploring, then don’t. Just as it is a violation of your self determination to force you to leave your home, it is a violation of others to force them to stay.

    The only rational response is to allow everyone to explore as they see fit.

    Yes, it’s a terrible waste that the fish died. But note that the explorers did everything they knew to do to keep it alive. So now go invent a better way, so the fish can live and be returned to its home, and humans can still explore them.

  110. yes dragonlord, just look at those hundreds of miracles described by Christians in the first to seventh centuries AD – who could argue with that sincere eyewitness testimony?
    I can’t follow or accept a religion whose ministers superceded the exercise of reason; which resolves every question by an article of faith, and which condemns the infidel or sceptic to eternal flames.

  111. In response to #192:

    Your example of a mule is not exactly an example of a mutation. Taking, say, an unusually small wolf and breeding it with another unusually small wolf over several generations to get something that looks rather like a chihuahua is an example of a mutation.
    In the wild, a mule would not happen due to the fact that a donkey and a horse are seperate species, and would not naturally breed with eachother. Humans simply took the best qualities of each species and combined them in a primitive form of an entirely different science called Genetic Engineering.

    Another example: Scientists working on the human genome have discovered that the gene for blue eyes did not exist untill about 10,000 years ago. They have traced the gene back to a single individual in northern europe with a single mutation in his DNA. This mutation proliferated amoungst the european population due to possible connections with the manufacture of melanin and how the body would have produced vitamin D in the relatively low levels of annual sunlight found at northern lattitudes.

    In other words, making ligers and mules is not the source of the mutations the theory of evolution is based around. Instead, they are natural mistakes made on individual genes while the genes are being copied for cell division or Meiosis. These mutations, if beneficial, get passed on WITHIN THE SPECIES and thus we get evolution.

    1. I’m afraid that I can’t allow this thread to turn into a battleground for commenters who have never been at BB before to fight an off-topic war. Any comments about the fish?

  112. All you who are saying they shouldn’t have killed the fish: rather than fuss about it here, do your part to lessen fish-killing by refusing to eat fish. Don’t limit yourself to fish that are cool-looking; most fish look pretty cool when they’re alive.

    So do meat animals, by the way. Don’t eat them either. Do your part, or admit hypocrisy.

    (I expect to be roundly cursed by the parents of the kids who take this advice.)

  113. Will those of you who are indignant over the death of the fish they studied please take a few deep breaths? The first step in preserving a species is understanding it. I’ve never met a biologist who killed specimens for no good reason.

    Robert, we don’t do all-caps. I u&lc’d your first comment. Please don’t do that again, okay?

    Captain Obvious, it asks you to have “faith” in it. Always check your spelling when you’re being deliberately rude; mistakes spoil the effect.

    Brainspore @136:

    Number one, wolves murder each other at a rate far greater than human beings do. Number two, we are the only species that would even take another animal’s suffering into ACCOUNT when shaping our behavior.

    Number one, true, and it’s not the only habit they have that we’d find repugnant in a human. We credit them with too much virtue because we’re not acquainted with them personally. Number two, though — I’m not sure that’s established. There are a lot of species out there. We still have plenty of stuff we’re learning about dog behavior, and we’ve been living side-by-side with them for millennia.

    Be kind to those who are exclaiming over the death of the fish. They’re doing it because it’s excited their sense of wonder, and that’s a sympathetic and impressionable state. Consider instead that that state of mind is susceptible to learning new things. It’s a fine moment to talk about the true wonders of biology.

    Bruce Arthurs:

    “And did the fish die?”

    “With a chicken? And the chicken said –”
    But at this very second, Aunt Ada’s attention was distracted by Elphine and Dick …

    Taz Fifi:

    And they all wonder why this country is in a depression cause they wast all that money on things like this i mean who cares.

    Taz, the tiny sums we’ve spent on research in marine biology haven’t done the economy a particle of harm; and that would still be true if we’d spent ten times as much.

    It’s important to keep count of the zeros at the end.

    Anonymous @150:

    when they said the fish rolled over from horizontal to vertical does that mean the fish died? sorry im only 9

    No need to apologize; it’s a good question. I believe what they meant was that the fish went from a position where it had its head and tail at the same level, side to side, to a position where it had its tail pointing downward and its nose pointing upward. Or, to put it another way:

    horizontal: —
    vertical: |

    Delthalas @203, I think you should concentrate on talking about cool fish, rather than religion, because you know so much more about fish, and it’s so much more interesting.

    Also, if wishing that you’d show yourself in a better light is evidence of bias, surely it’s a bias in favor of greater happiness and utility?

    Canuck @214, if you really want to talk about hagiography, first through seventh century (inclusive), I’ll be pleased to make time for you. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss the doctrines of the supersession of reason by ordination, or the efficaciousnes of credal statements in resolving all possible questions, or the automatic and irredeemable damnation awaiting skeptics, because those doctrines don’t exist and never have.

    On the other hand, you’re right about supersede.

    JesusChrist, if you don’t already know that we don’t drag in political figures who are neither mentioned in nor pertinent to the entry, you need to read the moderation guidelines. Now would be good.

  114. The absolute saddest comment in this whole god-awful thread is this:

    “waat in the hail is that thing?”

    Kids these days; can’t spell, can use the italics tag.

    /Sigh.. must try harder.

  115. Great list!

    Still sad that kids these days are being influenced by stuff they see on MTV^H^H^H old TV.
    If only these ruffians would speak properly, instead of using slang and clipped gang-speak. And there is so much violence, alcohol and solving-problems-with-your-gun being taught, these men are not role models for our children! What is becoming of our morals and good-standing in the world, when rap^H^H^H cowboys are the ones our children look up to?


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