The US Navy have taken a great interest in a research endeavor started out by a couple of marine biologists. A couple of cloaked fish were found on the ocean’s floor. The fish were, literally, hiding in broad daylight.
The US Navy often employed the help of sea critters in order to carry out dangerous tasks. We should look back at the experiment performed by the Navy, a couple of years ago. The experiment involved the use of trained dolphins in order to tag sea targets or to seek underwater mines.
Now the U.S Navy has taken,again, an interest in another area of marine biology. It would seem that two species of fish, more specifically the big-eye scad and the lookdown, possess a very interesting capacity. Both of them have a unique defensive capability: they can hide in plain sight. Yes, you heard it right! The two species have a unique skin constitution that renders them almost invisible in water.
The research project was conducted by the University of Texas and, as we stated, it was funded by the U.S navy. A study was drafted on the subject and published in the Science journal. Now, the question at hand is how are these fish capable of blending in their environment?
The team of scientists explained that their skin has a couple of microscopic cells called guanine platelets. They use these platelets in order to reflect polarized light waves off their skin. Moreover, the platelets are even capable of manipulating how much light should the skin itself reflect.
This natural defensive mechanism proves to be very effective when it comes to fending off predators. Out there, in open waters, there are hardly any hiding spots. It seems that the fish managed to overcome this obstacle, and after years of evolution and refinement, they came up with this quaint camouflage that offers them and edge when it comes to eluding predators.
The project itself was conducted in a make-shift laboratory situated in open waters, somewhere off the Florida Keys. The fish were tagged and thrown into the water. Alongside them, the scientists deployed an underwater mirror. Also, a camera was used in order to film the fish as they passed in front of the mirror. Moreover, the scientists used a polarimeter in order to measure how light behaves when it hits the fish from certain angles.
After studying approximately 1500 angles, they reached the conclusion that the fish literally became invisible when they passed through a 45 degrees angle.
Representatives from the U.S Navy told reporters that they will use the information gathered by the marine biologists in order to develop better cloaking systems for ships that are in open waters.