"I think scientists are sometimes lulled into viewing animal behavior in the way we perceive things, for example, by talking about camouflage as a mainly visible thing," Knouft said. "But [this new study] points out that chemical camouflage may also be a very important aspect of an organism's life history."
Resetarits said he wants to test how the pirate perch's ability to hide chemically affects its hunting success, and whether the fish might be able to hide from its predators as well as its prey.
The scientists are also planning further studies to determine which chemical signals beetles and frogs use to identify fish - and then see if these cues might be missing in pirate perch.
"It's exciting to see what the next step is going to be when they actually nail down what the mechanism is that the pirate perch are using," Knouft said. "I think the techniques are out there for them to figure that out."