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Still Waters

How deep-sea fish are so exceptionally black

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Still Waters

In the vast, featureless darkness of the oceans, fish take camouflage to a new art form. How do you blend in with nothing?

Viperfish and creatures like it have evolved ever blacker—we're talking blacker than black—so they can hide in plain sight.

"When you look at them, especially in the water, it’s just like a hole in the universe," says Sönke Johnsen, a marine biologist at Duke University who studies the denizens of the deep.

Scientists are learning how these "super black fish," a catch-all term for dark deep-sea creatures, make their bodies effectively disappear.


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