This research was partly supported by an MBL Neurobiology Post Course Research award to co-author Lydia F. Naughton.

As a marine biologist, Lorian Schweikert knew hogfish could change color to match their surroundings. But as an angler, she noticed something that wasn’t in the textbooks: Hogfish can camouflage even after they’re dead.

When Dr. Schweikert saw a hogfish with a conspicuous spearfishing hole through its body change color to match the texture of a boat’s deck, “it gave me this idea that the skin itself was ‘seeing’ the surrounding environment,” she said.

New research by Dr. Schweikert and her team provides a compelling explanation for how and why hogfish blend into their background, even in the afterlife. In a study published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, they identified a mysterious new type of cell deep in the hogfish’s skin that might allow the fish not only to monitor its surroundings but also to edit its skin color. Read rest of the article here.

Source: Hogfish ‘See’ With Their Skin, Even When They’re Dead | The New York Times