General, Research, Technology

Creatures with transparent skin live on Earth: why do they need it?

In 2016, American scientists found that onour planet is home to a trillion species of living creatures that inhabit land, water and air. They all look different: their bodies are covered with wool, scales, skin and other varieties of integuments. Many animals use their appearance to disguise, and the most unusual method is used by aquatic inhabitants. You must have seen at least once in your life aquarium "glass" - fish, whose internal organs are visible to the naked eye. This feature helps them hide from predators, because the distortions created by water make them virtually invisible. But translucent frogs exist in the world - scientists could not understand how they remain invisible, because on land there are no water distortions. Fortunately, an answer to this question has recently been found.

Transparent fish Parambassis ranga also known as glass perches

Transparent animals

Let's talk about real firsttransparent creatures. Take, for example, aquarium fish species Parambassis ranga, which are also known as glass perches. They live in the fresh waters of Asian countries and reach 8-centimeter length. They are so transparent that through their outer cover you can easily see all the internal organs. They feed on tiny invertebrate creatures like worms, as well as crustaceans. They have many enemies, but in most cases they go unnoticed for them precisely because of their transparency.

Transparent fish - favorites for aquarium owners

Another transparent creature isglass octopus species Vitreledonella richardi. In his body, too, there are practically no coloring substances and through the body you can easily see all the internal organs. Pay attention to his brain, somewhat reminiscent of a lifebuoy or bagel - it is huge. And this is not surprising, because octopuses are considered one of the most intelligent invertebrate creatures on Earth. Their brain is able to memorize information and learn. The author of Hi-News, Daria Yeletskaya, even said that clever octopuses strongly affect the environment.

It looks like a transparent frog of the species Centrolenidae

Their bodies are really transparent so thatthrough them you can see the bones, intestines, heart and other internal organs. But why did these tiny frogs need a transparent body, scientists still did not know. It was logical to assume that due to their appearance they hide from their enemies in the form of birds and survive in harsh conditions. But how amphibians do not give out the appearance of internal organs in the open air without any distortion was not clear. A scientific explanation was needed, which was finally given.

Nature gave frogs transparent bodies as camouflage

In the scientific journal National Academy of Sciencesan article appeared in which Professor James Barnett and his colleagues explained the method of masking glass frogs and evaluated its effectiveness in several experiments. They immediately noted that there is a green “spot” on the back of these amphibian creatures, which becomes darker or lighter depending on the background on which they are sitting. The belly and extremities of an unusual creature are transparent, which results in a smooth transition from green to “invisibility”.

Researchers recreated an external computerview of glass frogs. In some models, the transition from green to opacity was abrupt, while in others it was smooth, just like in reality. For a group of 25 volunteers, these models were shown on a different background. People were asked to find as many frogs as possible, and they mostly found patterns with sharper edges. Virtual frogs with blurry edges were less visible.

We already know about how the vision of living creatures works. But what about computer vision?

To verify masking performanceglass frogs, scientists conducted a second experiment. They made 360 ​​figures of gelatin, which also differed in the sharpness of the transition from green to transparency. Artificial frogs were scattered in the rainforest, where birds often hunted them. Three days later, scientists found that feathered predators most often found victims with sharper outlines. Frogs around the edges of the frog again became elusive lucky.

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Scientists have explained this phenomenon by the fact that visionpeople and animals react to objects with sharp transitions between colors faster than with blurry outlines. Many animals use unusual colors to hide their body borders as much as possible. For example, snakes merge with the environment using patterns on the back - a great alternative to the transparent bodies of aquatic creatures. I advise you to read more about snakes in this article - there’s even a video where these vile and poisonous creatures die from spikes of prickly hedgehogs.