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Fish use reflection to avoid predators

Posted on Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 | Comment icon 3 comments

Image credit: CC 2.0 Tanaka Juuyoh

Silvery fish such as sardines can use their silvery skin to camouflage themselves from predators.

Certain fish have evolved a reflective skin so effective that it acts almost like an invisibility cloak that helps to hide them from sight regardless of which angle they are being viewed from. Their skin is made up of alternating layers of cytoplasm in addition to guanine crystals that combine to create a unique reflective property.

"What these fish do is get around a fundamental law of reflection," said biologist Nicholas Roberts. "The polarization happens over a range of angles instead of one, and the end product of having all the layers together is that it creates a polarization-neutral reflector."

"Silvery fish like sardines and Atlantic herring are masters of camouflage."

  View: Full article

 Source: New York Times

  Discuss: View comments (3)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin on 24 October, 2012, 15:43
You know, nature never ceases to amaze me.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew on 25 October, 2012, 0:22
Silvery fish such as sardines can use their silvery skin to camouflage themselves from predators. Yes, but they are still killed by predatory species by the millions. I saw a film of a school of silvery bait fish attacked by sailfish and sharks, as well as by dolphins and diving birds. In the end hardly a fish was left, silver or no.
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 25 October, 2012, 1:31
Right, that what confuses me on the assertion of sardines being somehow less attractive to predetors. I realize the science is "there" but I question it.

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