Glowing Mauve

The mauve stinger’s (Pelagia noctiluca) name in German means “night light,” referring to the jelly’s reddish coloring and its bioluminescence, the display of light by a living creature. Unlike a night-light, however, this jellyfish can become startled and leave a trail of glowing mucous behind. Scientists now have an incentive to follow that trail, since the mauve stinger’s bioluminescence can be used to detect what information from a gene is used to create products such as proteins, a process called gene expression. For scientists studying this, the mauve stinger’s protein could be very useful.