“Dolphinfish,” aka “dorado,” aka “mahi mahi”—three names for the eight fresh fishy faces that joined our Open Sea exhibit this morning!
Dorado can flash vibrant hues of iridescent blue, green, gold and silver thanks to special color-changing cells in their skin, known as chromatophores.
Unlike the expanding and contracting chromatophores of cephalopods, like octopuses and squid, a dorado’s chromatophores are fixed in shape. To change color, the distribution of pigments within the cells varies.
A dolphinfish appears silver when its pigments are concentrated in the center of the chromatophores, and becomes a golden dorado when the pigments spread out within their cells, covering the mahi mahi’s body in a wondrous wardrobe of watercolors.
Keep an eye on our Open Sea cam to catch these flashy fish in action!