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Fluorescent Fish
By Angela Messina, January 9, 2014 @ 01:33 PM (EST)
Source: National Geographic

A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE highlights the abundance of fluorescence in fish.

David Gruber, a marine molecular biologist, and John Sparks, curator of fish at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, were photographing a biofluorescent coral wall for a museum when they noticed a fluorescent green eel swim into the picture.

Gruber and Sparks went to examine the eel in the wild and began noticing many other species of biofluorescent fish, including seahorses, sharks, scorpionfish, and flatfish. They realized that this was a much more widespread phenomenon than they had previously imagined.

Biofluorescent fish glow neon under blue light, but in order to actually see the fluorescence, there must be a yellow filter to block out the blue light. Some biofluorescent fish do have yellow filters in their eyes, most likely for this purpose.

Scientists aren’t sure yet what purpose this widespread fluorescence serves, although they believe it could be a means of communication.

Read more and watch a video here.

 

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