Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
The Terrifying Fish with Transparent Teeth

The Terrifying Fish with Transparent Teeth

♪♪♪ Meet Aristostomias scintillans, a species
of fish that lives in the deep, dark waters hundreds of meters beneath the Pacific. It’s occasionally called the “shiny loosejaw”,
because sometimes when you name a thing, you just call them like you see them. This animal is part of the dragonfish family,
and like most of its relatives, it’s a creepy-looking thing with a disproportionately huge jaw;
long, pointy teeth; and a bioluminescent barble for attracting prey. But of all the dragonfish, which are wonderful,
this one is special. It’s tiny, usually only about fifteen centimeters
long, but it’s also a fierce hunter with an amazing adaptation. To catch prey, the fish has fangs… that
are transparent. Most animals’ teeth are, this probably won’t
be surprising, not transparent. Vertebrate teeth are typically hard, calcified
structures in the mouth, and although they’re not quite the same, they tend to look pretty
similar to bone. They have an inner layer of what’s called
dentin, and an outer, hard layer called enamel. And they look opaque because they reflect,
absorb, or scatter most light. This dragonfish has a much more unique situation,
because its tooth composition is very different from what we see elsewhere. Both the enamel and the dentin are made of
unique mineral matrices containing nano-scale crystal rods; basically, very tiny crystals. They’re even smaller than the wavelengths
of light that normally hit them, which means they scatter barely any light. Instead, the light can go right through their
teeth. Additionally, these teeth also don’t have
dentin tubules. These are little channels that run through
our teeth, and they’re a major place where light gets scattered. So not having them helps this dragonfish keep
its mouth crystal clear. This is all super cool, but there’s still
a pretty big question here: What’s the point of having clear teeth? Seems like they’re working pretty hard for
this, so why? Well, that comes down to the dragonfish’s
hunting style. These things swim around with their mouths
open, and when some unsuspecting prey gets too close, their mouths snap shut like traps. So the point of this fish’s transparent
teeth is to make its maw virtually undetectable to prey by not reflecting any of the dim light
in the deep ocean. Combined with the dark color of its body,
this gives the species a unique level of stealth as it hunts. This fish is really cool in its own right,
but there’s actually something beyond just the “wow” factor here. Because researchers are also hoping to use
this animal as inspiration for advancing materials science. Engineers aim to copy the nanostructure of
these teeth to make transparent ceramics, which could be used for super-strong armored
windows, laser housings, and other tech. This is just one example of biomimicry, a
field of engineering that aims to adapt the awesomeness of nature into useful technology. Biomimicry has led to better bullet trains
based on bird beak shape, more sustainable building ventilation based on termite mounds,
and much, much more. So I guess, like, never be afraid to look
a gift dragonfish in the mouth! Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you have any jaw-dropping facts you think
we should turn into an episode, feel free to leave us a comment! We’re always on the lookout for new, amazing

100 comments on “The Terrifying Fish with Transparent Teeth

  1. I would love to hear Hank base an episode on the oceans being 400ft lower during the last glacial maximum, the catalyst which caused the ice sheets to collapse (broken up asteroid or comet), and that future archeology should focus 400ft below the ocean's surface off the coasts of ancient cities like dwarka and Alexandra!

  2. I am very confident that he meant translucent, not transparent… It is almost as if every 'scientist' or 'teacher/educator' out there has somehow forgotten the word translucent and knows only of transparency… Because although I've not seen these devastatingly creepy chompers, I am entirely confident that 'tranparent' is wholly inaccurate…

    It may seem like semantics, but if you aren't being taught the difference between 'can clearly see objects through', and 'light without shapes passes through', what other significant things are being lazied through…?

  3. Do one how on behavior if sperm . They navigate . Cominicate and react .not chemical react but adjust fir same objective. How they do this if don't have the matchinery most other cells have?

  4. Creepy ass animals always have to show up in dark places. At night, we have weird motherfucking insects on land and at the bottom of the oceans we got these ugly looking motherfuckers.

  5. You could do an episode (on SciShow Psych presumably) about the story of Michael Kenyon, The Illinois Enema Bandit …fascinating story! Frank Zappa even wrote a song about him!

  6. What would happen if you built a Faraday Cage around your house ? Obviously no cell signal , but would the land line phone carry the emp inside ? Anything else interesting happen ?

  7. Um, teeth are normally largely made of a mineral crystal called hydroxyapetite. How is having crystal teeth different for this fish? Are the crystals a different structure?

    Sounds like it's mostly just the dentin tubule thing. Clarification plz?

  8. Yall ever just live in deep dark waters within the Pacific just so you can evolve creepy ass teeth to flex on naked ape Nibbas

  9. On the topic of fish, nest association amazes me. One fish such as a chub builds a nest and all sorts of other fish rush in to use it, all in spawning colors.

    And on the topic of species joining into one group, how about a topic on how chickadees lead flocks of different bird species in foraging groups.

  10. The only issue I have with this, is that all the predatory fish I've every caught, have clear teeth. Pike being the main culprit, their teeth are so clear it doesnt look like they have any, and then the newbie in the boat sticks his hand in the pikes mouth to get the hook out, and now your fishing trip is over and you're headed to the ER.

  11. It always riddled me how the offspring of a donkey and a pig could become the President of the usa. Could you shine light on that?

  12. Scientist 1: Hey, Look at that! A new species.

    Scientist 2: Quick, Name It! Its not official until you name it!

    Scientist 1: Uhhhhh.. umm SHINY LOOSEJAW!

  13. Why didn't you mention the light emitting lure that it uses to draw prey close to those transparent teeth. It was kinda obvious to me but… I have a BS in fisheries biology.

  14. I have a question. Why are all Scishow presenters talking so fast? Are they in a hurry? Do they always have diarrhea and need to go to the bathroom? Are Youtube videos limited to 4 minutes? What's the problem if instead of 4 minutes, make the videos 6 minutes?

  15. Still curious, though… which side of a building is the coolest. Everyone knows the South Side is the warmest and gets the most light, but which cardinal direction is the coolest? I couldn't find a consensus when I looked it up online.

  16. 1:28 "They are even smaller than the wavelength of light that normally hit them , which means they scatter barely any light instead , the light can go right through the teeth. " If they are smaller than wavelength of light that pass through them , that means they are not big enough for wavelength of light which is bigger to pass through them????????? You cannot pass bigger brick through a space which is small . Don't tell me we can break the bigger brick bcoz after that it will certainly loose some of its properties.

  17. Why have gold teeth when you can have transparent teeth? It goes both ways, if you lose a tooth you could always say it's there just that it's transparent.

  18. If you're a fish that lives in the dark depths of the ocean, you should NEVER approach any pretty light that's randomly floating there.

  19. maybe you can think of a video about the Brahmaea certhia caterpillar's back tentacles. or Jewel Caterpillars that are transparent caterpillars. or those ant eating caterpillars that use their back flesh like a turtle shell.

  20. Why is it that, when I'm eating something crunchy, the numbers on my digital LED microwave clock jiggle differently than the rest of its surroundings? Printed text doesn't jiggle in the same manner when I'm crunching… I can't be the only one to notice that. Is it something to do with the properties of light?

  21. Can we please talk about why shungite stones blocking and absorbing radiation and electromagnetic waves isn't true and that selling them to go on your phone is a scam?

  22. I think having an episode covering the field of Biomimicry would be both entertaining and educational, but this is just a suggestion. I'm not entirely sure that SciShow hasn't done an episode about it as of yet. Just food for thought.

  23. Man if I ever describe a new species it’s getting an odd, no-nonsense name like that. Or an ASOIAF reference…but most likely a crude Off-the-top nickname

  24. They are probably transparent not to prevent reflecting light in the ocean, but to prevent light being reflected from its own lure.

  25. "Never be afraid to look a gift-dragonfish in the mouth." Or, do. Because it looks terrifying and if you're close enough to notice it's transparent teeth, then you're probably also it's dinner.

  26. if I have to be reborn please not in the deep ocean. so many scary things down there and you can't See anything =S

  27. could you ever do an episode about the chambered nautilus? it's my favorite animal and it has like three or four different reasons it's awesome.

    1. it and the other nautiluses are the only cephalopods left with external shells

    2. it tastes things with its arms

    3. its eyes have no lenses and instead are actually pinhole cameras

    4. most famously, it regulates its buoyancy with a tube full of gas, just like a submarine. there's a reason Jules Verne liked these guys.

  28. Very interesting, this channel always has interesting content. All the power to you SciShow – you are what the world needs most.

  29. We must go full nuclear!. The safest, I repeat, the safest, cheaper, cleanest, and the least landscape intrusive energy. And non intermittent, by the way. Should not were for the taxes imposed by stupid or corrupt governments on the taxpayers for the subsidies for solar and wind, they wouldn't exist. It's a big scam for the hard-earned-money workers. STOP THE WIND AND SOLAR CRAZINESS:

    It's the SUN, stupid!!!:

    CO2 is very GOOD (look at the increase in crops worldwide in recent years: ). Pollution is BAD.

    If the carbon dioxide is so bad for the climate, how it is explained that during the years 1934 to 1937 such great disasters occurred in the United States of America with half the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of which we have nowadays?.

  30. DO A LIVE SHOW ON SUNDAYS! I WANT TO DONATE TO YOU GUYS ON A LIVE SHOW! (P.s. please give us a week notice of time and if it's eastern or central time or what time zone. Thanks!)

  31. Do most fish attack and eat each other from a certain direction like from above below or beside and did that effect the evolution of them like why they have glowing bits dangling below instead of above

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