(SCIENCE NEWS) – The ghost catfish transforms from glassy to glam when white light passes through its mostly transparent body. Now, scientists know why.
The fish’s iridescence comes from light bending as it travels through microscopic striped structures in the animal’s muscles, researchers report March 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Many fishes with iridescent flair have tiny crystals in their skin or scales that reflect light (SN: 4/6/21). But the ghost catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus) and other transparent aquatic species, like eel larvae and icefishes, lack such structures to explain their luster.