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Discovery
Fish aglow: Hidden colors in the sea

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a green glowing fish

A green biofluorescent chain catshark (Scyliorhinus retifer). Scientists already knew that some marine organisms fluoresce, including corals and jellyfish, but the NSF-funded study, The Covert World of Biofluorescence is the first reported evidence of widespread biofluorescence among fishes.

Credit: J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. Pieribone


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list of various maine fishes that are flourescent

Researchers discovered a rich diversity of fluorescent patterns and colors in marine fishes, as exemplified here. A) swell shark (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum); B) ray (Urobatis jamaicensis); C) sole (Soleichthys heterorhinos); D) flathead (Cociella hutchinsi); E) lizardfish (Saurida gracilis); F) frogfish (Antennarius maculatus); G) stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa); H) false moray eel (Kaupichthys brachychirus); I) Chlopsidae (Kaupichthys nuchalis); J) pipefish (Corythoichthys haematopterus); K) sand stargazer (Gillellus uranidea); L) goby (Eviota sp.); M) Gobiidae (Eviota atriventris); N) surgeonfish (Acanthurus coeruleus, larval); O) threadfin bream (Scolopsis bilineata).

Credit: PLOS ONE


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red fluorescing scorpionfish

A red fluorescing scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis papuensis) perched on red fluorescing algae at night in the Solomon Islands.

Credit: PLOS ONE


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A triplefin blennie under white light (above) and blue light (below).

A triplefin blennie (Enneapterygius sp.) under white light (above) and blue light (below). Scientists already knew that some marine organisms fluoresce, including corals and jellyfish, but the NSF-funded study, The Covert World of Biofluorescence is the first reported evidence of widespread biofluorescence among fishes.

Credit: J. Sparks and D. Gruber


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Researcher David Gruber  under water

Researcher David Gruber searching for new biofluorescent organisms off Hele Island, Solomon Islands, with a camera system and blue lights.

Credit: Ken Corben


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