Scientists solve the mystery of the goblin fish with a translucent head

Scientists solve the mystery of the goblin fish with a translucent head


A creature as beautiful as it is mysterious. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in the United States have given more details on Macropinna microstoma, a fish first described in 1939.

Known as” goblin fish”, it has the peculiarity of having a translucent head. For what? Scientists were able to decipher it after encountering this species from the depths of the sea.

When it was first seen, it was believed that the eyes of this goblin fish were fixed to give a view of what was directly above the head of the fish.

New research by Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler indicates that these eyes can actually rotate and give you a great ability to see through your translucent head.

Meeting the goblin fish

The researchers used videos captured by remotely operated vehicles off the coast of California.

They found the goblinfish at depths between 600 and 800 meters above the surface, usually motionless, with its green eyes protruding through its translucent head.

It is believed that in the past its translucent head could not be described because this fragile structure was destroyed when the fish was taken to boats after being caught in mesh. Robison and Reisenbichler managed to carry one unscathed to be analyzed in an aquarium aboard a ship, where they confirmed its peculiar anatomy.

They were also able to learn that the goblin fish has particular adaptations to live in the depths such as long and flat fins that allow it to remain motionless and move very precisely.

Their digestive system is quite large, suggesting they can eat various small animals as well as jellyfish.