Invisible Animals (If Not Men)

The New York Times ran an interesting article this past week (Out of Sight, and Out of a Predator's Stomach) on how animals achieve invisibility in the ocean. Transparency can be achieved in different ways; jellyfish are almost entirely made of water. The glass catfish, has tissues with cells so densely packed that they have a quasicrystalline structure, like the lens of the eye. Even crustaceans (see below) can be invisible.


(From Out of Sight)

Two functions in particular are hard to hide - eating and seeing. Food can be clearly seen; you may remember the very nice cgi effects showing Chevy Chase eating in his remake of The Invisible Man. Marine creatures solve this problem by having as small a digestive tract as possible.

It is impossible to have invisible eyes, because the eyes must absorb light at some point to be able to facilitate sight. Some sea creatures put their eyes on long stalks that seem not to be attached to anything.

Read a nice long public-domain excerpt on how invisibility is achieved in H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man. See the original article here.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/27/2004)

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