The Colors The Colorblind See

There are some things in this world we will never understand. Like the eternal question, “Are there are more colors than the ones in the ‘visible light‘ range?”

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When we look at the bottom of the sea, the answer, surprisingly, is yes. In the actual final frontier, the bottom of our seas, we have been making surprising discoveries on the creatures that live so differently from the sun dwellers.

Glowing Dinner- No Radiation Added

Courtesy of National Geographic

This deep sea dwelling snail fish was born without any color visible to humans, as is true of almost every creature that lives so far away from sunlight. However, there are other ways that they can be visible to themselves, and each other. An article on National Geographic`s site explained,” Scientists aboard the manned submersible Johnson-Sea-Link collected and observed a bevy of glowing creatures—including sea cucumbers, sea anemones, bamboo corals, and a new species of hermit crab—at depths approaching 3,280 feet (a thousand meters).

As one of the first groups to study bioluminescence among bottom dwellers, the team also examined many of the creatures they’d collected in the laboratory.

Their results suggest that bioluminescence could help deep-sea animals color-code their food, said study co-author Tamara Frank, a marine biologist at Florida’s Nova Southeastern Oceanographic Center.

‘It’s possible that these animals are using the different colors of bioluminescence to decide, Yes I like that, no I’m not interested in that,’ Frank said.

Another revelation: Deep-sea animals tend to glow green, rather than the typical blues emitted by species living in the water column.

‘Down on the seabed, there’s a lot of current activity and detritus in the water that may make it difficult to see blue light,’ she said. ‘The green light would carry a little bit further.’

What about animals that only see in x rays? I`m thinking about the fish that live in the bottom of deep sea trenches where no sunlight dare trod, and the rocks and coral like stuff  have neon colors that are revealed to human investigators under infrared and other alternative lights. Can`t they see colors, just ones that are different than us?

Colored X-Rays

Many of the fish that live in and around deep sea trenches can see in x-rays. In an interesting article by The Telegraph, photographer Joshua Lambus reveals the colored nature of the seemingly invisible creatures found in ‘blackwater.’ Perhaps this deep sea world is not so bland after all!

Chemicals, What I loves To Eat

The strange plants that create the backbone of the food pyramid down here have a unique source of food. Instead of surviving off of sunlight, as surface plants do, these live off a process called chemosynthesis. Most of these creatures live near or around volcanic vents, and the plants live off of the chemicals they introduce to the surrounding water. The bacteria that live here are the key to all life, adapting the normally deadly combination of poisons and extreme pressures to create food the other creatures can live off of. The University of Delaware graduate studies deep sea site explains some of the process.

Do you find find these strange creatures as fascinating as me, or would you prefer that I stick to more creative things?

*Featured photo of Viper fish found at Perspective`s blog


4 thoughts on “The Colors The Colorblind See

  1. I am a science geek first and foremost! I love the cool nature stuff, which is pretty much everything, because how it all works is just so amazing. This is right up my street because my ultimate fascination is genetics, and how strings of code make all the different creatures and plants that are so different. it blows my mind! Sea creatures rock. Like this dude –

    • Oh, I really hate genetics, but natural sciences are endlessly fascinating to me! I can geek out over a cool mineral formation for hours. Actually, my electives have been sciences and history classes.

Hiya pal, please share your thoughts! :)