The dictionary defines aquarium as, “a tank, bowl, or pool in which aquatic animals and plants are kept for pleasure, study, or exhibition.” Oftentimes, pleasure, study and exhibition all come together and something truly special happens – a landmark discovery, something so unique that it makes us question our purpose in life. Such is the case with the Tokyo Sea Life Park and an Antarctic icefish with transparent blood. Yes, transparent blood, as in something you can see through. Like a ghost. Tokyo Sea Life Park is the only aquarium in the world that has one alive!
In the article, “Tokyo aquarium displays Antarctic fish with transparent blood,” John Hofilena of The Japan Daily Press writes, “Naoaki Kawahara, a fish keeper at Tokyo Sea Life Park, recalls that the plan to display the unique fish went forward when they learned Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd.’s krill boats occasionally catch the fish alive on their trips to the Antarctic Ocean.” He and the aquarium put together a plan to get them to Japan alive and intact. It was quite the perilous journey and many people helped. The fish made their way from Chile and across the vast Pacific. Only a few survived. In many ways, it was like Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Instead of Okies and jalopies, there were icefish and fishing boats.
Of the fish and journey, Kawahara said, “I want children to see many kinds of living organisms and be amazed at them.” Now that is the power of aquariums, demonstrating the breadth and beauty of the world. Whoever thought that blood could be transparent? We are so accustomed to red blood. If such a thing as transparent blood exists, what else could be out there? When patrons visit Tokyo Sea Life Park, they will rush to the icefish. Who could blame them? Such creatures stir the mind with thoughts of mystery.
At Arizona Aquatic Gardens, we believe that aquariums give birth to dreams. The Antarctic icefish is the perfect example!
For more information on the icefish, you can find Hofilena’s article here.
*Image courtesy Talia Felix