This Crazy Deep-Sea Fish Has a Completely Transparent Head

The barreleye fish looks like a model in a high school science classroom with a see-through portion to allow for an examination of the inner workings. But this is how the astonishingly bizarre fish naturally occurs—transparent head and all.

Though it was first discovered in 1939, little was known about Macropinna microstoma for the next 70 years. The only information about the fish, which lives 2000 to 2600 feet below the surface, came from damaged specimens caught in fishing nets, meaning scientists never saw an intact barreleye fish until recently. Depictions from the 20th century show the large, tubular eyes necessary to make use of limited sunlight, but they failed to show the fluid-filled dome that covers those unusual peepers.

In 2009, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) was finally able to film the barreleye fish in its natural habitat using a remotely operated camera and captured a short-lived specimen for research purposes. This first-ever footage of the curious creature, seen below, revealed the transparent dome that covers and protects its eyes.

The two dark spots that look like eyes are actually part of the barreleye fish's olfactory system, and are akin to nostrils. Meanwhile, its eyes are the bright green orbs inside its head. In the video, they're pointing upward, scanning the water above for potential prey. Scientists had long wondered how the fish would actually feed if it is always looking perpendicular to where its mouth is, but MBARI researchers determined that the eyes can swivel within the clear dome to face forward if need be. The scientists speculate the barreleye fish hunts by stealing captured prey from massive jellies like siphonophores. The transparent head acts as a shield to protect the fish's eyes from the jelly's stinging tentacles as it snatches a snack with its small, precise mouth

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
solarseven/iStock via Getty Images

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.