How fish can turn invisible in the open sea

Army Inquiring Fishs’ Biological Stealth Ability

Nature has exceptional abilities, and invisible fish could inspire U.S. Navy technology that would allow them to create vessels impossible to see in open waters. The big-eyed scad and the lookdown are types of fish belonging the the Caranigdae family. The two are exceptionally well in hiding from ocean predators by simply hiding in the light. However, once it gets underwater, it usually becomes polarised.

The crew was left with more than 1,500 distinct angular shapes, with two weeks worth of data that was recorded packed into each amount, for five distinct species of fish.

Researchers at the University of Texas Austin (UT) have unveiled about fish species, which is smart enough to manipulate light to remain invisible for predators. By reflecting polarized light, they can perform their disappearing act.

"Fish have evolved the means to detect polarized light". Camouflage technology may be improved, using a similar process that fish use. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas, noted that the fish have the ability to blend in with the light waves, having evolved a microscopic element on the surface of their skin called guanine platelets. It included constructing equipment called the video polarimeter that constantly records the polarized light properties around a fish issue held against a mirror. They adjusted the polarimeter in different angles.

When light is polarized, the vibrations of the light waves move on the same plane, but when light is unpolarized (which most light is), the vibrations travel on multiple planes. A platform supporting the fish spun 360 degrees in three-minute cycles while a polarimeter recorded.

The fish were held against a mirror as video rolled.

For the marine species, the ocean is made up of diverse optical surroundings. The fish were tagged and thrown into the water.

Scientists could apply the newly-discovered mechanism fish use to reflect polarized light and disguise themselves in the open ocean for army intelligence. If mirrors were used for camouflage, it can even backfire as it can directly reflect light to the viewer. These are the directions from which a predator would chase the fish, or from which the fish would pursue its own prey.

Different fish were used in the study. And many fish happen to have the ability to detect and mimic the polarized vibrations because of the platelets in their skin. Now, the question at hand is how are these fish capable of blending in their environment?

Finally, Cummings notes, "I think it's a great example of how human applications can take advantage of evolutionary solutions and the value of evolutionary biology".

The next step for the researchers would be to find out if the fish can actively activate the camouflage process or not. It could be by changing the angle when they swim or they could also consciously adjust how the platelets are positioned in their skin. As per Parrish Brady from the UT, said that fish platelets are small nanoscale crystals. It can turn the wearer invisible, harder to damage, stronger or faster. However, while the "why" is found, there's more to be understood on "how" exactly they reach that result.


In addition, they would also need to figure out if the tech would need a power source. Until now, scientists were unable to determine how much the luminous scales contribute to the fish species' survival.