Daily Archives: November 24, 2007

What In The Name Of Biology Is It?

Mystery Creature

First, take a good look at the creature in the above picture. What do you think it is? We’ll give you a clue. It’s the larval stage of an aquatic vertebrate. On first appearances it does kind of look like a snail; it has eyes on stalks. But the eyes seem a bit too massive for those flimsy stalks to hold up. And the body isn’t gastropod-like at all. Our wacky imaginations tell us that it’s a type of snake which has had its eyes violently yanked out. That would be wrong too though.

But before we reveal the creature’s identity we want to explain our reason for mentioning it in the first place. According to good old fashion creationism and Intelligent Design creationism, a creature, like the one above, is designed by a designer. Thus it is well suited to its environment. Perfectly suited. But we’d argue that this creature isn’t designed at all, and it’s not perfectly adapted. We’d say that an insufficient field of vision is the very reason for its eyes being on stalks.

Now click here to see the adult stage of the mystery creature.

It’s called a Dragonfish, and it’s from the genus Idiacanthus. According to Australian Museum Online

The Black Dragonfishes (Family Idiacanthidae) are long, slender fishes which live in mesopelagic to bathypelagic waters down to depths of about 2000 m.

Like many deepsea fishes, the Black Dragonfish can produce its own light. This species has tiny photophores scattered over its body and two rows of larger photophores along the side of the body. The chin barbel of the female has a a slender luminous tip. This may be used to attract prey.

Larval Black Dragonfishes are most unusual. They are long, slender, transparent fishes that have their eyes at the ends of long stalks which can be up to half the length of the body.

The Family Idiacanthidae contains three species.

Nature does find a way. The long stalks provide a better field of vision for larval Dragonfish, enabling them to see more food. If Dragonfish were designed, the designer made a poor design choice and then covered it up with another equally poor design choice. We’ll stick with evolution, which allows species to adapt, but not perfectly. Perfection is for fools and gods.

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Biology