Typically cobalt blue in color, the stripes “light up” to phosphorescent blue to lavender when the marlin is excited, such as when it is feeding. This rapid color-change is made possible by specialized skin cells called chromatophores that are controlled by the marlin’s nervous system. Scientists hypothesize that the brightly colored bars may confuse prey by breaking up the marlin’s large, dark silhouette. All marlin have the ability to change their color patterns depending whether they are excited, fatigued or in courtship.
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