Researchers capture footage of rare deep sea fish with translucent head


A 55-second video captured between 2,000 and 2,600 feet beneath the ocean surface contains closeups of the rarely seen barreleye fish’s translucent head and tail and glowing green eyes. By Adam Barnes | Dec. 14, 2021

  • Video footage of a deep sea fish with a translucent head was recorded during a recent dive off the coast of California.
  • The dive was organized by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • MBARI said it has seen the barreleye fish only nine times in 5,600 dives. 

Researchers discovered that the Macropinna microstoma’s olfactory organs are in the place typically reserved for eyes. And its eyes are “two glowing green orbs behind its face that gaze up towards the top of its head.” 

“Its eyes look upwards to spot its favorite prey—usually small crustaceans trapped in the tentacles of siphonophores—from the shadows they cast in the faint shimmer of sunlight from above,” MBARI said in a statement, according to Newsweek

“But how does this fish eat when its eyes point upward and its mouth points forward?” they added. “MBARI researchers learned the barreleye can rotate its eyes beneath that dome of transparent tissue.” 

The aquarium notes that barreleye fish, which can grow to around 6 inches in length, were first described in 1939 and can be found in waters ranging from the Bering Sea to Japan and Baja California. 

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