Many species of animal have skin or fur with intricate pigmentation patterns, which they use for camouflage, communication, regulation of body heat and protection against the sun. A study conducted by researchers at the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg has found that several species of fish also have highly-coloured internal pigmentation.
The spotted skin of a plaice.
Photographs: Helen Nilsson Sköld
The spotted insides of a plaice.
Photographs: Helen Nilsson Sköld
Adapts to its surroundings
In a study published in Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, marine biologist Helen Nilsson Sköld and her colleagues show that the number of internal pigment cells has a direct link to the degree of transparency of the fish. Transparent fish can change colour using their internal pigment cells, thus enhancing external skin pigmentation and their ability to adapt to the background colours of their surroundings.
Bewildering display of colour
Mysteriously, plaice also have a high number of internal pigment cells in, for instance, the ear and brain and around their internal organs. Plaice however are not particularly transparent. The internal pigment cells of this fish cannot be seen easily from the outside, which makes its internal display of colour somewhat bewildering.
According to Helen Nilsson Sköld and her colleagues, the fact that less transparent fish also have this internal pigmentation indicates that the pigment cells may have other, as yet unknown, functions.
"We believe that the internal pigment cells either function as vessels for excess pigment or perhaps provide various forms of protection or contribute to the immune system. We hope to investigate this subject further," says Helen Nilsson Sköld.Contact:
Helena Aaberg | idw
Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion
26.07.2017 | Penn State
New virus discovered in migratory bird in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
26.07.2017 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences