Friday, 8 December 2017

Armored 'Pinecone' Fish's Insides Revealed in Spooky Scan

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | December 1, 2017 06:22am ET

From the outside, the pinecone fish is a colorful yet fearsome beast. On the inside, it's downright spooky.

A new scan of a fish of the genus Cleidopus, posted on Twitter, looks like the re-creation of a monster from a sci-fi horror flick. In actuality, the scan reveals the tough, spiked armor of this denizen of the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific.

Pinecone fish grow about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long and come by their nickname honestly: Their scales are yellow, crisscrossed with black markings in the shape of the scales of a pinecone. (The fish are also known as "pineapple fish," another name that references their striking markings.) Running down the fish's sides are rows of small, nasty-looking spikes. Pinecone fish live at relatively deep ocean depths, down to 650 feet (200 meters) or so, and their jaws are studded with two bioluminescent organs, called photophores. These give off a greenish glow that the fish might use to attract prey. [See Photos of the Freakiest-Looking Fish]

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