It is no doubt the ocean holds many secrets; some may say even hidden treasures. With only 5% of the ocean discovered today, we are continuously amazed at the beauty it holds.
Inhabiting an estimate of 1 million species, the limitless body of water is home to some of the rarest animals on planet earth.
Bioluminescence is one of the ocean's most fascinating characteristics. It is the production and discharge of light caused by living organisms. At least 1,500 species of marine animals encompass this mystical trait.
On the shore, this sparkling light is commonly blue-green or green. Though visibility is not always guaranteed, the best time to try and spot this glowing act is during nightfall.
Residing throughout the ocean floor, to open water, near the coast and on the surface, bioluminescent organisms are mostly in the deep sea. With waters so deep and in the absence of any light, bioluminescence is an essential part of survival for these organisms.
Varying from species, only one sex of that species is able to produce bioluminescent signals, other times both males and females have the capability to do so. The ability to produce bioluminescent light relies on luciferin, the light-emitting composite which endures an enzyme produced reaction with molecular oxygen, allowing animals to generate bioluminescence.
The underwater glow and signals are used for a variety of practical purposes. Some animals use their light to attract prey, or light up their feeding grounds to scout out their next meal. The useful trait is also beneficial when trying to distract their predators by startling them with their bright flash. The glimmering light is also used to catalog, mate, and to send alert signals.
So who are these incredible glowing creatures? The list goes on and on, but commonly known for the astonishing attribute is:
- Alarm jellyfish
- Hawaiian bobtail squid
- Glowing coral
- Barbeled dragonfish
Some species of plankton are also bioluminescent. The animals’ neon glow is definitely a sight you won’t want to miss! If you’re lucky, under the right conditions you may spot this underwater light show at the shore in some beach locations.
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