More Bioluminescence

The Ocean Blog

This lanternfish ( Diaphus sp .), found in the Red Sea, has light-producing photophores along its ventral surface (belly), and a nasal light organ that acts like a headlight. Hear scientists tell...
This beautiful jewel squid ( Histioteuthis bonnellii ) can be found swimming above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at depths of 500-2,000 meters (1,640-6,562 feet). The “jewels” covering the body are...
A fringe of short tentacles surrounds the flattened bell of this tiny, transparent jellyfish ( Halicreas minimum ), which can be found at depths up to 984 feet (300 meters). But it would be hard to...
The long barbel on the chin of this dragonfish ( Stomias boa ) has a glowing tip that may attract prey. With its large mouth and sharp, curved teeth, the fish makes quick work of any prey that...
“Upon returning from the reef after a night dive, I swam toward a bright reflection and came eye-to-eye with this beautiful, curious squid," said Charles Viggers, a Nature's Best photographer. Squids...
The fish at left stands out against the lighter waters above. At right the same fish—now with bioluminescent structures on its underside lit—blends in. Many deep sea creatures have evolved this...
Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows...
Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are both beautiful—the jellyfish with their pulsating bells and long, trailing...
What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. Bioluminescence is the process by which living...
Dr. Edie Widder spoke at the National Museum of Natural History as a part of the Changing Tides Lecture Series and discussed her work on underwater light: light chemically produced by animals through...
What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than 2 miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. Bioluminescence is the process by which living...
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
This aptly named fish ( Anoplogaster cornuta ) has long, menacing fangs, but the adult fish is small, reaching only about 6 inches (17 cm) in length. It's teeth are the largest in the ocean in...
The submersible Alvin carries scientists to the deep ocean, where they encounter amazing creatures and views of deep ocean life. Explore more in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .
Under white light, this shortnose greeneye fish ( Chlorophthalmus agassizi ) looks unimpressive. But, in dim blue light—the type usually seen at depth—it shows its true fluorescent colors. NOAA...
The yellow bioluminescent ring on this female octopus ( Bolitaena pygmaea ) may attract mates. Bioluminescence is an important adaptation that helps many deep sea animals survive in their dark world...
The smallest shark, a dwarf lantern shark ( Etmopterus perryi ) is smaller than a human hand. It's rarely seen and little is known about it, having only been observed a few times off the northern tip...
These southern elephant seals ( Mirounga leonina ) may look like beach bums, but when they are in the water hunting, they are anything but. Satellite tracking by tagging the animals has found that,...
Subscribe to Bioluminescence