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Scaleless, clear-blooded fish discovered

A new species of fish has been discovered in the depths of the Antarctic ocean, which exhibits unique characteristics no seen in any other vertebrate.

The ocellated icefish is a newly discovered species of fish living in the icy depths, one kilometer below the surface of the Antarctic ocean. What sets this fish apart, is that unlike every other vertebrate in existence, it has clear blood, lacking the hemoglobin which carries oxygen to the body and color it red.

Apart from having clear blood, the fish also lacks scales, another unique trait among fish. Of course, the fish is a deep sea fish, and if there’s one thing we can say about deep sea life, it is that it’s usually pretty unique. In all other respects though, it is little more than an ordinary fish.

"I don't need no hemoglobin!"

At this time, the occelated icefish can only be seen in one place apart from the Antarctic ocean, and that is the Tokyo Sea Life Park, which has both a male and a female living in their aquarium. An educational specialist at the center, Satoshi Tada, revealed that they spawned in January.

The fish and their spawn may help researchers understand exactly how they get their oxygen. One theory is that their enlarged hearts are able to carry oxygen through the blood using only blood plasma. Another theory is that the fish absorbs some of its oxygen through the skin directly, as it doesn’t have scales. Antarctic waters are rich in oxygen, which makes this a likely possibility.

Regardless of how they get their oxygen, the curious lack of hemoglobin is still a mystery. "More studies are needed on the question," Tada said.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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