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Researchers discover fish with a previously unknown type of eye

RATE THIS! +16
Posted in Science on 20th Mar, 2014 11:14 PM by AlexMuller

The University of Tübingen's Institute of Anatomy has discovered a fish with a previously unknown type of eye. The aptly-named glasshead barreleye lives at depths of 800 to 1000 meters. It has a cylindrical eye pointing upwards to see prey, predators or potential mates silhouetted against the gloomy light above.

 

The eye also has a mirror-like second retina which can detect bioluminescent flashes created by deep-sea denizens to the sides and below, reports Professor Hans-Joachim Wagner in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

 

Professor Wagner examined an 18cm long glasshead barreleye, rhynchohyalus natalensis, caught in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, as part of an international research project.
 
The results were unexpected; reflector eyes are usually only found in invertebrates, such as mollusks and crustaceans, although one other vertebrate, the deep-sea brownsnout spookfish or dolichopteryx longipes, also uses a combination of reflective and refractive lenses in its eyes.
 
The light coming from below is focused onto a second retina by a curved mirror composed of many layers of small reflective plates made of guanine crystals, giving the fish a much bigger field of vision.
 
The glasshead barreleye is therefore one of only two vertebrates known to have reflector eyes; but significantly, although rhynchohyalus natalensis and dolichopteryx longipes belong to the same family, their reflective lenses have a different structure and appear to have developed from different kinds of tissue.
 
That indicates that two related but different genera took different paths to arrive at a similar solution, the reflective optics and a second retina to supplement the limited vision of the conventional refractive cylindrical eye.

Tags: fisheyenaturebiologysciencevision

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-21
+2
There is so much more to discover in nature! And these are major new things. I hope that more effort can be invested in this type of work looking into life diversity
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-21
+2
Amazing! Models of the reflector showed that it is capable of throwing a bright, sharp image onto the retina facilitating a broad field of vision. This is an obvious advantage Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-21
+2
Definitely, there is more to be found out about fish. Recently, electric fish from South America opened up new ideas in robotics. Two of the features- use of a small current through the water to sense their environment and the ability to undulate a long fin to move around- could be harnessed in a new class of autonomous underwater vehicles.
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-21
+0
Learning from the designs of nature has been very helpful to many designers and especially in robotics and AI. Looking forward to see what this fish robot can do Reply
Reply


 

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