What makes this Vampire Squid such a special sight?

Vampire squid lack ink sacks. Rather than ejecting ink in defense, these squid expel a bioluminescent mucus from their arm tips when they sense a threat! Named for its dark color and red-ringed eyes, this juvenile vampire squid surprised researchers ascending from a mission in Sur Ridge in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

photograph: NOAA/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute


The Magical World of Living Light

This is the mysterious spectacle of bioluminescence. Its hard not to revel in the beauty of this remarkable natural phenomenon. These glowing creatures are primarily a product of the ocean. They are the primary source of light in the largest and darkest area of habitable land on Earth, the deep sea. On land, they are most commonly seen as glowing fungus on wood (foxfire) or in the few families of luminous insects (fireflies). 


Essential Guide: The Bioluminescence Edition

Bioluminescence — the ability for organisms to generate their own light — has evolved independently at least 50 times. All around the world, oceans glow, trees sparkle, and the forest floor flashes. It may be difficult to see many of these phenomena, but take a tour with us through the land, air and sea as we survey one of nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles.  

Atlas Obscura’s Essential Guide To Bioluminescence

The Dino Pet - A Self Sustaining Night Light

Designed by Yonder Biology (“The DNA Art Company”), the Dino Pet is a dinosaur-shaped habitat for a species of bioluminescent marine algae that photosynthesizes during the day and glows at night. “Dino” is actually a play on words, as the actual organisms contained inside the dinosaur-shaped model are called dinoflagellates and are known for their ability to glow when physically agitated (shaken). You might have already seen them in action as they live on various shorelines that cause the waves to glow at night. The organisms can live for 1-3 months but can potentially live indefinitely if the algae are supplied with the proper food and right amount of sunlight. I have a feelings these are going to be very popular but they aren’t ready for sale yet. The Dino Pet is currently funding on Kickstarter.


Sparkle Motion

The bioluminescent algae Noctiluca scintillans is also known as “sea sparkle” because of its magical appearance. These dinoflagellates become illuminated when they are disturbed by motion in the water — whether it’s the result of natural waves or a fish swimming by. The above romantic “light display” was created by the photographer moving an object through the water in a heart shape.

Credit: ArtTomCat | shutterstock



Aequorea victoria!

This beautiful jelly, (aka “the crystal jelly”) was the unlikely star of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  Its a palm-sized hydromedusae and has about 150 tentacles laced with pressure-activated poison harpoons, known as nematocysts. Don’t worry, it’s no harm to humans, but its voracious appetite includes small floating animals and even other Aequorea! Around Aequorea’s ring are small glowing photocytes that give off a blue bioluminescent glow. But, these photocytes are coated with a green fluorescent substance that immediately absorbs the blue light and transforms it, making Aequorea look like a green blinking spaceship when poked. Photo: David Gruber/Vincent Pieribone. Animation: Emma Welles.