Orange Fish Can Change Shapes Confuses US Experts

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

a whale orange color seen off the coast of Monterey Bay, California, United States managed to make experts confused. Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have found that female whales or whalefish from the order Cetomimiformes can change shape.

Researchers using the long-distance submarine watched the female whale half-swim and half-glide through the submarine’s beam light at a depth of about 6,600 feet (2,013 meters).

“Whales are rarely seen living at such depths, so many mysteries remain regarding this incredible fish. With each deep sea dive, we unravel more mysteries and solve others.” wrote the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute as quoted from Live Science, Monday (16/8).

This type of fish was first discovered by two Smithsonian Institution scientists in 1895 at a depth of 3,280 feet. There is also very little information. Apart from that this fish is still a mystery to the scientific community because the fish undergoes three forms of change.

First, there is the ribbon tail: a scaleless larval form with a long, ribbon-like tail and mouth that appears to have a unique overbite. They live and forage near sea level. They can also shapeshift into adults, two different body shapes waiting for them.

If they are male, their ribbon tail becomes a big nose. Scales also grow all over their bodies, their mouths shrink to minuscule proportions as their jawbones thin and their noses swell outward.

Their insides also undergo a complete transformation, their esophagus and stomach disappearing and being replaced by a giant sex organ and liver.

Instead of eating prey, male whales swallow crustaceans alive and whole, and store them in their bodies to produce energy.

The female whale undergoes a no less dramatic transformation. Their bodies expand to resemble baleen whales, growing to a much larger size than a male. They develop a lateral line of water pressure detectors along the sides of the body to guide them through the pitch-dark depths of the ocean.

In some species the females come in a stunning range of orange and red colors, while the males are just orange. The act of strange transformation that Cetomimiformes performed was unprecedented among vertebrates.

It wasn’t until 2009 that a study of mitochondrial genes, or genes that trace the maternal line, in addition to careful analysis of animal specimens collected mid-transformation, allowed researchers to conclusively prove that the ribbon tail, large nose, and whales in their study belong to the same species.

Reported from Daily Mail, in 2003, when Japanese scientists analyzed the DNA of a ribbon-tailed fish and a whale also revealed similar results in that these two very different looking fish were nearly identical in one particular gene.

Both males and females tend to be spotted at depths between 4,920 and 6,560 feet (1,500 to 2,000 meters) below sea level, although some reports claim they can go much deeper to depths above 11,500 feet. (3,500 meters).

This discovery only occurred in one species. The elusive deep-sea animals also mean that the family tree for many whale species may never be complete.

(mrh/mik)

[Gambas:Video CNN]


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