Meet the Barreleye Fish, the alien-like deep sea creature
Photo Credit: MBARI
A Face Unlike Anything Else
The barreleye fish is a tiny, dark gray or black swimmer, reaching only about six inches in size. What makes it stand out is its transparent dome-like forehead that protects its unique eyes. These two large, green tubes sit inside the dome, and although they usually point upwards, they can also rotate to face forward. The two dark circles that look like nostrils? Those are actually nares, housing the fish’s olfactory organs.
Deep-Sea Twilight Zone Dweller
This bizarre fish calls the ocean’s twilight zone home, living at depths of 2,000-2,600 feet where sunlight is virtually non-existent. Similar to other deep-sea critters like the glass octopus, the barreleye fish has adapted to its dark surroundings with its glowing green eyes, perfect for spotting meals in the inky blackness.
Snacking on the Sly
A day in the life of a barreleye fish is pretty chill. They hover in the deep sea, scanning the water above for zooplankton. With large fins that help them glide smoothly, they hardly disturb the water around them. But don’t let their calm demeanor fool you; they’re also known to sneakily snatch prey from siphonophores, long jelly-like stinging creatures. Luckily, their see-through domes protect their sensitive eyes from any nasty stings.
So Much More to Learn
Our knowledge about these fascinating creatures is still pretty limited. As we continue to explore the depths of our oceans, it’s essential that we strive to protect these otherworldly beings from the impacts of human activity. Who knows what other alien-like creatures are waiting to be discovered?