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WATCH: This Fish Is So Good at Camouflaging, It's Practically Invisible

BEC CREW
12 MAY 2015

If only we could all escape life's problems by simply blending in with the colours and textures of the floor. Whether you're dealing with a tough day at work, an embarrassing social encounter, or a looming predator that's hell-bent on eating you, sometimes withdrawing from the world for just a moment is the best approach. And the fish in the video above knows all about that.

 

While it's not clear where the footage was shot, or what species is featured in it, the behaviour is characteristic of the flounder - a group of flatfish found all over the world, lurking in the muddy softness of the seabed around docks, bridges, and coral reefs. Adult flounders are known for their round, incredibly flat bodies, and the googley eyes that sit on one side of their head, facing upwards, so they can survey the area while camouflaging on the ocean floor. 

Strangely enough, juvenile flounders start out with eyes on either side of their head, but as they mature, one of their eyes actually migrates over to the other side to facilitate this kind of camouflage. And experts can tell one species from another simply by determining which side the eyes migrated to. 

So how do they achieve such camouflaging competency? As Fiona MacDonald reported for us earlier this year, when an adorable octopus showed us all a thing or two about how to blend in with some nearby coral, it's about having the right pigmented cells locked away in your skin, and the skills to manipulate these to suit your environment:

"Just like fellow cephalopods, squids and cuttlefish, octopuses contain tiny pigment sacks inside their skin. By contracting or dilating their muscles very precisely, an octopus can control exactly how much light bounces off each pigment, which means they can change into virtually any colour almost instantly."

Here's a peacock flounder (Bothus mancus) changing its colours while being pursued by a diver off the coast of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea:

Source: SPLOID