Fish disappearing act,described in ScienceDaily 19 November 2015 and Science vol. 350 pp. 965-969 DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5284, 20 November 2015. Fish living in coastal areas and reefs can find many sheltered places to hide from predators, but in the open ocean there is nowhere to hide. Many open ocean fish have a silvery surface that reflects light, but even that is not enough. The open ocean is not as featureless an environment as it looks to us. Light is scattered and refracted in the water, producing polarised light, and for animals that can see polarised light, this results in ever changing light patterns as the sun’s angle changes. Many marine creatures can detect polarised light, and fish with a simple mirror surface would still be visible in the polarised light environment of the open ocean.

According to Michael Twardowski of Florida Atlantic University, “Fish have evolved a solution to this potential vulnerability”. He and a group of colleagues took videos of fish in different habitats under different light conditions, using a multi-armed device that enabled them to view the fish at different angles. They found that fish living in the open ocean were much better at apparently disappearing when viewed from angles that predators were most likely to attack.

They also studied the microscopic structure of open ocean fish scales and found “specific arrangements of reflective guanine platelets in the fish’s skin produce angle-dependent polarization modifications for polarocrypsis in the open ocean, suggesting a mechanism for natural selection to shape reflectance properties in this complex environment”. (“Polarcrypsis”, means being disguised in polarised light)


Editorial Comment: It is easy to rule out natural selection shaping the reflectance properties of these fish. The presence of reflective guanine alone will not provide the special properties needed. The scales also must be arranged in the correct way. Organising things requires a mind at work, and that labour was done by the Creator alone. Natural selection can only remove the fish that did not already possess the precise arrangement of guanine platelets.

Natural selection can also explain why silvery fish are most common in the open ocean and it is not because they evolved there. It is because they already had the correctly organised guanine platelets and could survive any ‘predator selection’ process that would eliminate brightly colourful or dark coloured fish, whose same created colouration allows them to survive well in the different environment of reefs and coastlines. (Ref. ichthyology, camouflage, design)

Evidence News vol. 15 No. 24
9 December 2015
Creation Research Australia