Humans have been trying to harness the power of invisibility for a long time now, but it would appear sea wildlife has beaten us to the punch.
A sea creature known as the sea sapphire has the ability to basically turn itself invisible to the naked eye, and scientists are amazed by it.
In the video below, you can watch a sea sapphire shimmer in and out of visibility:
Sea sapphires are tiny crustaceans that belong to the Sapphirina genus of copepods. The males of some species are shimmery and even have the ability to seemingly disappear from plain sight.They are normally practically invisible (translucent) except when the males are flashing colors to signal to females. These color flashes are evolutionary adaptations via sexual selection and are an example of structural coloration produced as result of a combination of diffraction, reflection, and refraction of light. Microscopic layers of crystal plates inside their cells are separated by minute distances, and these distances can be adjusted by males to the same wavelength of the corresponding color of these apparent flashes.
The small crustacean has alternating layers of hexagonal material on its back that reflect light in a variety of different hues, causing it to seemingly disappear into thin air — or water. Watch this strange phenomenon below.
The small creature is a Sapphirina copepod or, a sea sapphire. Copepods are the rice of the sea, tiny shrimp-like animals at the base of the ocean food chain. And like rice, they are generally not known for their charisma. Sea sapphires are an exception. Though they are often small, a few millimeters, they are stunningly beautiful. Like their namesake gem, different species of sea sapphire shine in different hues, from bright gold to deep blue. Africa isn’t the only place they can be found. They can be found off the coasts of Rhode Island and California. When they’re abundant near the water’s surface the sea shimmers like diamonds falling from the sky. Japanese fisherman of old had a name for this kind of water, “tama-mizu”, jeweled water.
The angle of the light reflecting off of the crystal layers also changes how the animal looks. For one species of Sapphirina, a 30-degree tilt makes the light reflect a deep violet color, and at a 45-degree tilt, the animal becomes nearly invisible. This is because the reflectance passes out of the visible light range and into the invisible ultraviolet range.
The reason for their shimmering beauty is both complex and mysterious, relating to their unique social behavior and strange crystalline skin.
Humans have been trying to harness the power of invisibility for a long time now, but it would appear sea wildlife has beaten us to the punch. A sea creature known as the sea sapphire has the ability to basically turn itself invisible to the naked eye, and scientists are amazed by it.
If we could harness that technology, scientists could make great strides in finding ways to turn humans, clothing, and all sorts of things invisible.