The Deep-Ocean Camouflage and Ultra-Black Fish Secrets

A team of researchers has recently analyzed the formation and evolution of the blacker-than-black fish, which live in the biggest depths of the oceans. What is even more interesting about this species is that it has developed a set of unique skin characteristics to help them survive when predators that use bioluminescence are hunting them.

The paper

The study was posted in the Current Biology journal on the 16th of July and its leading author is Alexander Davis, professor at Duke University. Throughout their paper, they have mentioned a total of 16 such species, whose skin is capable of absorbing approximately 99.5% of light. This characteristic is considered at the most accurate camouflage technique in all the species living in the ocean.

The species

The research was performed on species living in the Monterey   Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, where researchers measured the light reflections on the species by using a spectrometer. The leading author has declared that a tiny anglerfish is by far the most interesting species of all, since the light that is reflected is almost inexistent (0.04%).

Black fish vs. ultra-black fish

Another thing that was analyzed throughout the paper was regarding the differences between ultra-black fish and black fish. One of the most important criteria that were taken into consideration is represented by melanosomes, which stands for various cells structures that contain the melanin pigment.

According to the computer modeling tests, the ultra-black fish have the optimal geometry to swallow light. What is even more interesting about these findings is that researchers could mimic the characteristics to develop better ultra-black materials, which could be used in optical technology, such as cameras and telescopes.


Consequently, this study completes our general knowledge of these animals in their black worlds. In addition to this, the study comes as a continuation of a 2019 study which states that some of these species can even see in colors.

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