Strange glowing 'spook fish' have been found off New Zealand

A freshly caught barreleyes. Image by Jan Yde Poulsen and colleagues.

Two new species of rare bioluminescent barreleyes fish have been found in deep waters off New Zealand.

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE by Jan Yde Poulsen from the Australian Museum in Sydney and colleagues identified the Opisthoproctidae.

The glowing fish, also sometimes called spook fish, were caught on recent research cruises near American Samoa and New Zealand.

The scientists have labelled the fish “peculiar”.

“The family Opisthoproctidae (barreleyes) constitutes one of the most peculiar looking and unknown deep-sea fish groups,” the researchers write.

“All the species in the family are united by the possession of tubular eyes, with one distinct lineage exhibiting also drastic shortening of the body.”

Apparently the fish use their tubular eyes to peer upwards, looking for the movement of prey against the dim light from the surface.

The new Pacific-living species are at top and bottom, with the already-known Atlantic species in he middle. Image by Jan Yde Poulsen and coleagues.

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