Yes yes yes yes yes yes! This incredible new see-through fish has just been discovered in the Amazon! It’s dubbed Cyanogaster noctivaga or the blue-bellied night wanderer because it’s nocturnal and transparent.
It was fished out of the Rio Negro, the largest tributary of the Amazon, which has been “thoroughly” explored in the past. Scientists apparently missed this tiny guy, though. At only 17mm in length, it’s easy to see how they might! This maximum length makes it one of the smallest vertebrates in the world, measuring only 7mm longer than the world’s smallest fish.
Not only is this a new species to science, but it’s also a completely new genus! Besides its small size, this fish might have gone unnoticed for so long due to the habitat in which it lives. The highly acidic dark waters of the Rio Negro are so murky (due to an abundance of dissolved tannins in the water) that they have been compared to a cup of well-brewed black tea. The only way scientists even spotted the fish at all was due to the fish’s bright blue belly.
The team learned to look out for a sudden blue streak in their nets to catch the fish. To get pictures, they had to transfer specimens to a specially rigged photo tank quickly, without taking them out of the water, otherwise they died and turned white.
“It is a strange little animal, completely transparent with an otherwise unique color pattern,” said study co-author Ralf Britz, an ichthyologist at London’s Natural History Museum.