Today’s Solutions: January 29, 2023

Some creatures’ adaptations help them camouflage so well that, along with predators, naturalists and researchers find it hard to spot them. This is the case with the rare highfin dragonfish (Bathophilus flemingi), which researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have managed to capture on camera. 

“MBARI researchers have observed a few different dragonfishes in the depths of Monterey Bay, but this one is the rarest we’ve encountered,” the institute wrote on Twitter on May 3. “In more than three decades of deep-sea research and more than 27,600 hours of video, we’ve only seen this particular species four times!”

The highfin dragonish usually stay at depths of 740 to 4,500 feet below sea level, where they hunt fish or crustaceans by staying still and catching their prey as they swim by. They’re able to do this because of their unique coloring and biology. 

Dragonish are tinted with some of the blackest blacks in the world, and the highfin dragonish is distinguished by the unique bronze tint on its scales. This coloring helps the highfin dragonfish absorb the little blue light that reaches its depths and camouflage it from predators and researchers alike.

“But when we shine our white lights on it, it’s just gorgeous,” Bruce Robison, MBARI senior scientist and discovery team leader, said. “They are just amazing animals, and part of what is appealing is that color pattern.”

The highfin dragonfish also uses bioluminescence, the biochemical emission of light, to both lure in its prey and avoid predators lurking below. A bioluminescent lure attached to its chin attracts its prey, while light organs on its rear camouflage its silhouette against the surface light from predators looking up at it. 

This rare find was spotted at a lucky depth of just 980 feet by MBARI’s Western Flyer research vessel, and footage of the highfin dragonfish was posted on YouTube

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Why a clover lawn is so much better than a grass lawn

Americans use more than 7 billion gallons of water a day on their lawns. Over half of that doesn't even help lawns. People overwater, ...

Read More

Oakland-based startup is 3D-printing homes in 24 hours

We have previously written about a nonprofit called New Story that was building the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood for impoverished people in Mexico. Now, ...

Read More

This novel hearing aid works like a contact lens for the ears

Although hearing aids can be helpful at improving auditory sensations in people with hearing problems, most of these devices use a tiny speaker that ...

Read More

James Webb Space Telescope officially launches into space

As most of us were celebrating Christmas morning in December 2021, NASA was celebrating a different event: the successful launch of the James Webb Space ...

Read More