In DepthEvolution

Jeepers, creatures, where'd you get those peepers?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  10 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6440, pp. 520
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6440.520

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

When cave fish and crickets moved underground into pitch-black caverns, their eyes virtually disappeared. But fish that ply the sea at depths greater than sunlight can penetrate have become superseers, highly attuned to the faint glow and twinkle given off by other creatures. They owe those powers, evolutionary biologists have learned, to an extraordinary increase in the number of genes for the receptor proteins that other vertebrates depend on for seeing in dim light. Those extra genes have diversified to produce proteins capable of capturing as many different wavelengths as possible in those inky depths—and may even endow the fish with color vision that enables them to discriminate bioluminescent signals important for capturing prey, finding mates, and escaping predators.