Fish Grows a Third ‘Eye’ to Distract Predators

Written by on August 20, 2013 in Fish, Marine Life

Daily Summary

Great barrier reef.

Great barrier reef. Photo credit: richard ling via photopin cc.

Google Street View Visits Caribbean Coral Reefs
Google Street View Oceans is not only letting anyone explore coral reefs, but it is helping scientists monitor these vulnerable ecosystems. The photos for Google’s underwater street view were taken with the help of a human-driven underwater scooter equipped with cameras and were then stitched together into the wonderful 360 degree panorama we’ve all used on land. The project has already been completed in the Great Barrier Reef and now the team is moving to the Caribbean.

Search mission locates US bombs dropped on Great Barrier Reef
A joint US-Australian search mission successfully located the bombs that were dropped on the Great Barrier Reef last month by US aircraft that had run low on fuel during a military exercise. Two of the bombs were inert and two were unarmed and they didn’t land directly on a reef so there was minimal environmental damage. The USS Germantown will retrieve the bombs sometime soon.

Tiny fish make ‘eyes’ at their killer
A new study found that some small prey fish have a unique way of distracting predators: they grow a big ‘eye’ on their rear fins. This false eye dramatically boosts their chances of survival by making it look like they are swimming in the opposite direction. Growing an eye spot also actually reduces the size of their real eyes. When young damsel fish were placed in a tank where they could see and smell predatory fish, they immediately started growing a bigger eye spot. Damsel fish that were only exposed to herbivorous fish did not experience those changes. In the real world, young damsel fish with big eye spots had a survival rate five-times that of fish with normal-sized eye spots.

Juvenile Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) with an eye spot.

Juvenile Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) with an eye spot. Photo credit: McCormick.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Amanda Zybora says:

    Cool story about the fish growing a 3rd eye! I will be showing to my marine science class tomorrow:)

    Amanda Zybora

  2. Emily says:

    Thanks, Amanda. Hope your class enjoys it!