Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/59

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
49
THE STRUCTURE OF BLIND FISHES.

appear white in the caves, and their gliding motion has an uncanny effect. All alcoholic specimens are white.

The pigment cells can not be made to show themselves, even by a prolonged stay in the light. The old, if kept in the light, will not become darker, and a young one reared in the light until ten months old not only showed no increase in the pigmentation but lost the pigment it had at birth, taking on the exact pigmentless coloration of the adult. Pigment cells are late in appearing in Amblyopsis. When the young are two months old pigment is abundant. This pigmented condition is evidently a hereditarily

PSM V57 D059 Chologaster agassizii from cedar sinks cave kentucky.png
Fig. 1.Chologaster Agassizii from Cedar Sinks Cave, Kentucky.

transmitted condition. It disappears with age. Primarily this disappearance was probably individual. But, 'as in the flounder, the depigmentation has also become hereditarily transmitted, for even those individuals reared in the light lose the color. Numerous facts and experiments show that while pigment may be, and is, developed in total darkness, the amount of color in an individual animal depends, other things equal, directly on the amount of light to which it is habitually exposed.

The lower and upper surfaces of the flounder, the one protected and the other exposed to the light, give the most striking example, and the argument is clinched here by the fact, noted by Cunningham, that a flounder whose lower side is for long periods exposed