TECHNOLOGY

Biologists unravel the mystery of the ‘invisible’ creature


This story is basically Appeared Atlas Obscura And part of it Climate desk Collaboration.

While trekking through the Peruvian Rain Forest, an eight-hour boat trip from the nearest jungle settlement, biologist Aaron Pomerantz saw tiny invisible jets jeeping across the trail. “I was trying to catch things there with nets,” he says, “and these just changed direction and disappeared.”

This was his first intimate encounter with clean-winged butterflies, insects that live in the forests of Central and South America, and a significant means of camouflage: sightings or “glass” wings that make them difficult to find in particularly dense understories.

“It’s like the power of invisibility,” says Pomerantz, lead author of a recent study Journal of Experimental Biology It examines how clean wings develop. “If you can wear an invisible garment, it is much harder for hunters to find you. There are plenty of transparent species in the marine environment, but it is much less common on land. And it really falls into the question, ‘What does it take to be transparent on the ground?’

By studying the wings of the species Greta OttoAt different stages of the dog’s evolution, also known as the glasswing butterfly, Pomerantz and his colleagues discovered a number of subjects at the University of California, Berkeley, Woods Hole’s Marine Biological Laboratory and Caltech. Microscopic scales have changes in shape and density that typically create colorful patterns of butterflies. A layer of juvenile wax columns acts as an additional antiglare coating.

If it sounds like a unique adaptation, it doesn’t. “It has evolved more than once,” Pomerantz says. There are hundreds of species of butterflies and insects with glass wings, he noted. Although they represent a small part of the order Lepidoptera, They create rare instances of such transparency on the ground. The glass frog, which exhibits varying degrees of clarity to the skin, is another example.

On the other hand, ocean jellyfish and sponges are found in crustaceans, cephalopods and even fish. Earlier in the summer of 2021, two rare sightings of a glass octopus were spotted during an expedition on a research ship at the Schmidt Ocean Institute. Falcor, In the water depths of the remote Phoenix Islands in the Pacific Ocean. As can be seen from the disappearance, the sea is much easier to achieve than the land, partly due to the view of the water and the physical features.

“You can think like a piece of glass in water,” said marine biologist Laura Bagg. “That environment is much more featureless than on land, and you don’t have to deal with gravity. So most of these animals are aquatic, recreational objects, except for vertebrates or dense structures that are needed to survive on land. ”

Imagine that classic Jaw The scene – one from the shark’s perspective – where a swimming silhouette stands against the light flowing from top to bottom. Where the sun shines, it’s easy for underwater hunters to see opaque shapes, so being transparent helps you slip. It is useful in the depths of the ocean because even in the aphotic zone – where the depth is low or no sunlight enters – lots of bioluminescent animals emit their own light, the bag says.

Now a senior biologist at Torch Technologies in Florida, Bag was fascinated by animal clarity during his research at Duke University. He drew a mysterious specimen by dipping his hand into a bucket of marine life. “It was hard as a lobster, but it was a completely clean animal,” he says. It was crustacean like shrimp, CystisomaWhich can be as big as a human hand. “They are very quiet because they are packed with a solid outer shell and muscle. How do you clean it? “



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