Much of the body of a Pederson’s transparent shrimp looks like watery nothing, but it’s a superhero sort of nothing. The shrimp is transparent enough to read through, but it’s not some frail, filmy thing. It’s packed with invisible muscle.
Searching for Ancylomenes pedersoni shrimp has a touch of the summer-camp prank about it, being a hunt for something that’s mostly invisible. On a research trip to reefs in Belize, “everyone else would give up,” says Laura Bagge of Duke University. But she’d find an anemone, where the transparent shrimp hide among stinging tentacles, and then float in the water watching for the twitch of a tiny visible part, such as an antenna or claw. “It’s like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ thing, because you can’t see it at first and then all of a sudden it becomes visible.”