Source: Science Daily
The Technicolor wonders of the reef are a sight to behold—provided, of course, you have a decent amount of artificial light to see it. Otherwise, it’s a dull, blue-green world down there, devoid of all those lovely yellows, oranges and reds. It turns out that fish, too, have the facility to add a little warmth to the color palette.
Reseachers at the University of Tübingen in Germany have looked at over 600 fish species to assess their ability to produce red fluorescence—where fluorescent cells absorb blue light and emit it as red. In the study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the biologists identified three significant functions of the mechanism.
In gobies and damselfish the red fluorescence was found to be dominant around the eye. The scientists suggest that the red light illuminates prey for feeding as it makes the eyes of tiny plankton light up. Predators such as scorpionfish, on the other hand, sport irregular fluorescent patterns all over their bodies, camouflaging them against the substrate bristling with tiny algae themselves emitting red fluorescence. Lastly, the researchers believe red fluorescence on fish fins plays a role during courtship rituals, enhancing signals that attract mates.
Read more about the research here.
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