Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brownsnout Spookfish

For as much variation exists, it's rare to find a new major morphology. Thankfully, the Brownsnout Spookfish (more fun to say than Dolichopteryx longipes) has appeared to entertain us with new evolutionary innovation.

Lateral view isn't his best angle. It doesn't show his incredible eyes (which are divided into up and down facing pupils, effectively giving it four eyes, and that's not even the cool part! Take that Anableps). The cool part is that the Brownsnout Spookfish is the only vertebrate to use a mirror to make an image in its eye. The top corneal opening of each eye is focused by the a mirror made of layers of reflective plates of guanine crystals. The bottom facing pupil is still focused by a lens as in 'primitive-eyed' vertebrates like us. It's cool to see a new biological technology developing in and independently contributing to an existing visual system.

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