The blackest black under sea impqct on science

The rules of the game for deep-sea species that live in areas with little to no sunshine are simple: feed, avoid being eaten, and try to breed. Some of these creatures, like jellyfish, generate their own light. Other animals, such as anglerfish with their bacterium-filled lures, harbour microbes that produce light for them. According to National Geographic, a number of water organisms produce luminous particles to confuse or mark would-be predators.

All of this bioluminescence in a pitch-black environment has resulted in remarkable adaptations, such as eyes that can detect only a few photons of light. According to a study published in Current Biology, researchers have uncovered another common gear for deep-sea survival: ultra-black pigment.

The Blackest Natural Black Scientists went out on research cruises in Monterey Bay, California, and the Gulf of Mexico, using a trawl net or remotely operated vehicle to collect samples from 0 to 2,000 metres (approximately 6,562 feet) below the surface. Commercial scuba divers with specific equipment, on the other hand, can dive to depths of 600 metres (1,968.5 ft) before the pressure from the water above becomes dangerous to humans. The deep-sea fish swim higher at night, hence the samples were taken at that time.


The researchers discovered 16 fish species with ultra-black skin that reflected less than 0.5 percent of the light they were exposed to. Only 0.051 percent of light was reflected by the darkest species, a dreaming anglerfish. Regular black fish, on the other hand, have a reflectivity of 2% to 3%, black paper has a reflectivity of 10%, and white or silvery fish have a reflectivity of more than 50%. Many translucent water organisms only reflect about 0.4 percent of the light they receive.


Butterflies (0.06 percent to 0.5 percent reflectivity), birds of paradise (0.05 percent to 0.31 percent reflectivity), and jumping spiders are among the land species that create ultra-black pigment, according to the scientists. The ultra-black pigment is utilised to emphasise brilliant colours in some species, creating visual cues that warn predators or entice potential mates. The majority of the ultra-black fish, on the other hand, had black skin covering most of their bodies, implying that camouflage is the primary goal.

Bioluminescent lures are used by certain ultra-black species, notably the Pacific dragonfish. This implies that the ultra-black is employed to hide the hunter from possible prey. Ultra-black was only discovered near the intestines of one species, which could be advantageous for masking bioluminescence from freshly consumed prey. These 16 ultra-black species represent seven distantly related groups of fish, all of which have colourful or silvery relatives. This is strong evidence for the evolution of ultra-black pigment on several occasions.

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