Glowing Mauve

Preview The mauve stinger is a glowing jellyfish.
(Fco. Javier Gallardo Álvarez, Flickr)

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.