10 Transparent Animals That Actually Exist

FUN FACTS December 21, 2017 By Vincent

There are some amazing animals in this world of all different shapes, sizes, and colors but sometimes, some are even see through. These beautiful creatures have developed transparent bodies as a form of survival and can be harder to spot than others. Here we document a few of these amazing creatures and see why they are see through.

1. Glasswinged Butterflies

Also known as Greta Oto, these stunning butterflies are found predominantly in South and Central America. Their transparent wings are not only a form of camouflage and self-defense but also a way of dealing with the oppressive heat that often occurs in their natural habitats. By having a low reflection from the heat on their wings, they become harder to detect by reflecting less heat.

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They have other interesting behaviors including long migrations and lekking displays amongst young males in order to show off their prowess.

2. Sharpear Enope Squid

Although the crown of this squid is heavily pigmented, the rest of it remains clear so as to remain undetectable to predators that use bioluminescence to detect their prey and the squid also has its own photophores to reflect light from predators and escape as well as to attract and hunt out prey.

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Found deep underwater in depths of 200–1000 m down, the squid rarely, if ever see natural daylight.

3. Surgeonfish

The same species as Dory in the popular Disney films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, some surgeonfish are transparent and are found in a wide range of waters including those around New Zealand. Growing up to 30cm in length they are very popular as pets and in aquariums around the world.

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Develop transparent larva, surgeonfish can change dramatically in shape and color as they reach full size and the one pictured is just a juvenile.

4. Pharoh Ants

Pharoh ants are found on almost every continent in the world and have a translucent thorax that changes color depending on what the ant has consumed. A nuisance pest that is typically a problem in places like hospitals, they have a unique caste system that is not often found in ant colonies.

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A polygynous colony set up means that they have many queens and quite often fragment into different colonies to allow for greater proliferation.

5. Tortoise Shell Beetle

Not entirely transparent, this little beetle uses its almost invisible carapace to reveal markings on its back that are aimed at tricking any predators into thinking it is dangerous or poisonous and it also acts as camouflage as it shows the leaf beneath its body.

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The design under their clear shells can be distinct and beautiful and can vary greatly.

6. Macropinna microstoma

Another partially see-through fish, this animal has been known to science since 1939 but hadn't been photographed alive until right up until 2004. It has a transparent dome on its head but until recently, science didn't recognize this as it was usually destroyed when it was brought up from the depths.

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The reason for the transparent head is to watch out for prey as its eyes have a barrel shape and can be rotated to point either forward or straight up, looking through the fish's transparent dome.

7. European Eels

European Eels change colors several times throughout their lives. They start off transparent before turning brownish-yellow on their sides and belly. Between 5 and 20 years, the eels become sexually mature at which point they will develop a silverish color on their flanks at which point they are often referred to as 'silver eels'.

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 While captive specimens have lived over 85 years in captivity, the species' lifespan in the wild has not been determined.

8. Octopus

Some species of octopus remain see-through whilst in their juvenile stages and this is especially found of deepwater octopus that feeds on phytoplankton. Like the Sharpear Enope squid, the octopus remains clear so as to remain undetectable to predators that use bioluminescence to detect their prey.

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Chromatophores (color-changing cells) are visible on its tentacles, possibly for use in the light, when a different kind of camouflage would be needed.

9. Hyperolius Leucotaenius

A see-through frog only rediscovered in 2011, Hyperolius leucotaenius endemic to Democratic Republic of the Congo and was largely thought to be extinct until its rediscovery by a University of Texas expedition. Photographed on the banks of the Elila River, a tributary of the Lualaba, little is known about this animal.

10. Immortal Jellyfish

A small, biologically immortal jellyfish found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the waters of Japan, the one thing perhaps more interesting than its transparency is its ability to completely revert to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary individual thus, effectively starting its lifecycle again and becoming immortal.

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Although theoretically, this process can go on forever, in nature, most Turritopsis are likely to succumb to predation or disease in the medusa stage, without reverting to the polyp form.


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