Reflections on Transparency

  • Garth Chapman


The transparency of pelagic organisms has been remarked upon by many naturalists, most recently by Hamner et al., (1975) but nowhere is it possible to find much more than casual comment and speculation about the physical means by which this is achieved, the visibility of organisms to their predators or their prey and the part which transparency may play in the lives of such organisms. Is transparency the primitive state of organisms and opacity the more highly evolved condition? I think not, because the number of organisms which are strikingly transparent is small compared with the nontransparent ones and those parts of the body of vertebrates which are transparent, the cornea and the lens, are constructed in a specific way which has been shown to provide a basis for a physical explanation.


Polar Diagram Hiding Place Thin Cell Layer Gelatinous Zooplankton Transparent Object 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garth Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen Elizabeth CollegeLondonEngland

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