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Translucent Creatures
July 9, 2008 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Photo Gallery: Translucent Creatures. [Via]
posted by homunculus (25 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
freaky.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:35 AM on July 9, 2008


gorgeous.
posted by Brainy at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2008


Translucent and Phosphorescent and Iridescent... oh my!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2008


Can a (marine?) biologist explain why they are translucent? Is it directly adaptive or a side-effect? Or is the real question why most other creatures are opaque? (In which case, answer THAT one.)
posted by DU at 10:42 AM on July 9, 2008


I think it needed a bit more cowfish.
posted by Harry at 10:42 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


very cool find
posted by airways at 10:49 AM on July 9, 2008


I love the wary look on this little guy's face.
posted by cashman at 10:51 AM on July 9, 2008


Wow - these are wonderful! The roundbelly cowfish in particular reminds me of my mother ...
posted by Susurration at 10:53 AM on July 9, 2008


Thank you!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:58 AM on July 9, 2008


Yummy. Saved 'em all.
posted by pyrex at 11:15 AM on July 9, 2008


Awesome.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:25 AM on July 9, 2008


This guy was hanging out at the same site but not part of the gallery.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:27 AM on July 9, 2008


DU - there was a short blurb in the description suggesting that the lack of pigmentation is a defense for otherwise defenseless larval stage for these animals.

Kind of makes sense, but that begs the question of why pigmentation comes in upon maturity?
posted by porpoise at 11:42 AM on July 9, 2008


CunningLinguist - Thanks!
posted by pyrex at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2008


These are super cool, thanks! Speaking of innnnteresting sea creatures, remember this?
posted by airgirl at 12:04 PM on July 9, 2008


I'm sure there are a lot of reasons why various critters are and aren't transparent. One is that UV and blue light is highly damaging to living cells, especially DNA. Land animals therefore need to be pigmented to keep light out of their delicate bits, but deep sea creatures who live in the dark don't. Invisibility is perhaps another reason in some cases, although many translucent animals hang out in the dark where it's hard to see how that helps.
With respect to the business about pigmentation coming in upon maturity, I have a guess. UV damage causes cells to commit suicide ("apoptosis" is the technical term). Developing animals have a LOT of cells in them that just die anyway. A few more cells dying here and there during the process of development might not make all that much difference—they just get replaced along the way. The adult form of the animal, in contrast, (a) probably isn't making all that many new cells to replace ones that die due to light damage and (b) might well live longer than the juvenile form and thereby risk accumulating more damage to its cells over time. Therefore adult animals may need more light protection.
Also, for the most part, immature animals just hang out and eat, whereas the adults have to find others of the same species to hook up with and make babies. These different lifestyles may cause different requirements for visibility.
These generalisations are probably roughly on the mark for some species, and have glaring exception in others.
Also: gorgeous pictures; nice find!
posted by nowonmai at 12:51 PM on July 9, 2008


There are a few of kinds of shrimp that are mostly transparent. Whenever I end up in a fish story with the wife, I end up staring at them, trying to figure out what's going on inside of their tiny bodies.
posted by quin at 1:54 PM on July 9, 2008


Once upon a time, quin and mrs quin went shopping for some fish.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:54 PM on July 9, 2008


UV protection! Good thinking!
posted by DU at 2:55 PM on July 9, 2008


Whenever I end up in a fish story with the wife, I end up staring at them, trying to figure out what's going on inside of their tiny bodies.

Whenever I end up in a fish story with my wife I'm usually too busy backpedalling to worry about shrimp.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:08 PM on July 9, 2008


jimmythefish: so you have a bicycle? I'm curious as to why you need one.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like this little guy from another gallery linked on the same page. He's like "Hel-lo. I do not know if I am a boy or if I am a girl. Can you please to help me find my sex? I do not see it here."
posted by katillathehun at 3:38 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


jimmythefish: so you have a bicycle? I'm curious as to why you need one.

You humans take everything so literally, man!
posted by jimmythefish at 6:06 PM on July 9, 2008


Beautiful, though I must point out that the iridescent colours of the comb jelly (#8) are not caused by luminescence, but by diffraction of ambient light through their comb plates (which is even cooler, in a way).
posted by primer_dimer at 4:14 AM on July 10, 2008


See also: Photos of Luminous Organisms.
posted by Wet Spot at 8:12 AM on July 10, 2008


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