Rapture of the deep

But this isn’t just any old fish. This is Bathylychnops exilis.

“It’s a deep-sea fish with a really bizarre visual adaptation. It’s got four eyes in two sockets,” Sidlauskas explains with a delight that borders on the indecent. “The retina will form two different images so it can see things coming from above it or below it.”

This particular example, dredged up in 1980 by a trawler’s net in 400 meters of water off the Oregon coast, is just one of more than 300,000 specimens in the Oregon State Ichthyology Collection. Housed in the basement of Nash Hall on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, it is the largest collection of preserved fish specimens in Oregon and one of the largest on the West Coast, and the ponytailed Sidlauskas is its enthusiastic curator. Read more...