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The Ego of Man II

Did you know somebody made a new sea creature last week?

Deadly New Sea Creature Lures Fish with Red Lights
By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Senior Writer

For fish, the red light district is deeper and more dangerous than anyone imagined.

A newfound deep-sea relative of the jellyfish flashes glowing red lights on twitching, stinging tentacles to lure fish to their deaths more than a mile below the surface.

The discovery is odd, because scientists had figured deep-sea animals can't see red light, since they live where sunlight doesn't reach and therefore have no evolutionary reason to detect the color.

So since we've never seen it we label "new." I assure you that it is not "new" to all their little glowing red fishy friends.

Comments (7)

No, it's new. It just evol... (Below threshold)
Mark A.:

No, it's new. It just evolved about two weeks ago. It mutated from a green light flashy thingy. The green one mutated from a yellow flashy thingy about 1,024 years ago. Spokes persons for Darwin say it will evolve into an underwater traffic control creature later this century. It is expected to shed the gills and sprout feet by the end of this millenium. Cool, eh?

Really, it's true.

Evolution for random, even ... (Below threshold)

Evolution for random, even stupid, reasons isn't exactly uncommon. Your own species has a good many examples of it. For example, chocolate is toxic to a good many animals because they lack the ability to digest it. Humans, for some reason, can.

But last time I checked, you all were supposed to have evolved in an area far away from any plant which produces theo-bromine, the toxic chemical in chocolate, and never really had a reason to develop the complicated and relatively inefficent manner of digesting the chemical until the time of the Mayans.

But you can still munch down on M&Ms without harm. What a wacky universe we live in.

"no evolutionary reason to ... (Below threshold)

"no evolutionary reason to detect the color."

Either this guy isn't talking to real scientists or LiveScience's senior writer doesn't know jack about his publication's area of specialty.

Color is human shorthand for wavelength. Other "colors" exist past the red end of the spectrum, aka infrared. Heat is "visible" in the infrared. Creatures that live in darkness may actually have reasons for detecting temperature differentials visually. Perhaps the red lure appears red to us, but only as a side effect of whatever other wavelengths are presented to the prey?

This is the same effect seen with bees and flowers. The visual sense of bees will detect obvious patterns on the petals of flowers that humans cannot see. The colors seen by humans on the flowers don't matter a hill of beans to a bee.

Joe's got it. QED... (Below threshold)

Joe's got it. QED

The term "new" was just giv... (Below threshold)

The term "new" was just given by the science writer, or probably some random copy editor. The actual Science article uses the word "undescribed".

The discussion of "color" is also the mistake of the writer, not the scientists: the article says "The assertion that red light acts as an attractant is at odds with the prevailing view that deep-living creatures cannot detect long wavelengths; however, our knowledge of deepsea visual abilities is limited."

"our knowledge of deepsea v... (Below threshold)

"our knowledge of deepsea visual abilities is limited" pretty much says it all for me. Speculation about evolution over long time frames is just that; speculation. There exsists plenty of evidence for sudden, catastrophic world change. Human history is full of it.I think joego is right, that color we see might not be what they see at all. Interesting...

Bringing up "evolution" was... (Below threshold)

Bringing up "evolution" was also work of the science writer. The authors of the Science paper just reported the characteristics of this recently discovered organism, and noted that we don't understand why the red light works. That is all.






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