Bobtail squid have bioluminescent bacteria within their bodies. These glowing bacteria are then used as camouflage by the bobtail squid to mimic the moonlight at night and to eliminate their own shadows, thereby protecting against predators in what is a great example of a symbiotic relationship. What might be even more impressive is that the bobtail squid can actually control the brightness of the glow caused by the bioluminescent bacteria within them. They have special light organs inside of their mantles that act as filters for the light, allowing them to adjust their glow to match the moonlight.
Hi there! I’m Blue, one of the writing leaders. It’s kinda impossible to show off any of my writing for this project without spoiling things, so in celebration of 10k follows I did the only other thing I’m good at… which is science.
The picture above is of glow-in-the-dark bacteria that I grew in the shape of our logo! This bioluminescent bacteria is called Vibrio fischeri, which is closely related to the same microorganisms that cause cholera. It was lovingly painted on an MH agar plate and left to incubate in our lab for 24 hours before this picture was taken.
Aside from showing you some cool bacteria, I mainly wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks to all 10k of you for supporting us. This project is near and dear to my heart and it means a lot to me that so many of you are cheering us on. Thank you! <3
Specialised mucous glands allow them to glue sand and shells to their head and upper body. At night they use a light organ in their gill cavity which contains special glowing bacteria. The bacteria are fed sugars by the squid in return for making light. The organ contains filters which may alter the wavelength of luminescence closer to that of downwelling moonlight and starlight, thus allowing the squid to cancel its silhouette and remain undetected as it swims above upward-looking predators.
Here you can see fireflies, a type of beetle that glows.
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light from enzymes called luciferases. In nature, many organisms such as jellyfish and fireflies ‘glow’ using these enzymes.
In scientific research, bioluminescent proteins are used to monitor changes to cells.
In the bottom images around 7000 bacterial colonies have
been printed on an agar plate.The bacteria have been
genetically engineered to display the bioluminescent enzyme from the firefly Photinus pyralis.
The images were taken with a sensitive camera which can detect the light output from
luciferase in each colony. The light output of different types of luciferase can
be analysed to discover which ones have enhanced characteristics that could be used in research.
Image credits: Terry Priest, s58y, Cassandra Stowe
New Research Shows That Bioluminescence Evolved Frequently in Fish
New research shows that bioluminescence—a phenomenon in which organisms generate visible light through a chemical reaction—evolved many more times among marine fishes, and likely throughout the entire tree of life, than previously thought. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists from the American Museum of Natural History, St. Cloud State University, and the University of Kansas reveal that bioluminescence evolved 27 times in marine ray-finned fishes—and 29 times if sharks and rays are counted. Here are some of these amazing bioluminescent fish:
Pemprika’s au for mermaid mika got me like “damn boi!” And even though I’m exhausted I just have to write what comes to mind. Though it’s been a while since I’ve checked in on the ons fandom I hope I’ve still got a grasp on these two. I’ll be putting them in older ages that way I can work more emotionally with them. Hope you enjoy~
He had the most pristine color of green eyes, Mikaela had ever seen someone have. He could recall just so fondly how bright they were in the sun, the way, Yuu’s eyes would appear to sparkle when he became excited or how they hardened with his determination to succeed.
So many years ago, Mikaela could remember being so happy, so elated to have found a friend in the unlikeliest of individuals. A Mermaid himself there were strict rules that his guardian, krul, set forth in order to keep both peace and safety for the inhabiting species just below the oceans clear surface. Poor Mikaela never understood back then in his youth just what kind of danger he put himself in.
But was it so bad to simply yearn for the sun so directly? wish so desperately to be above the waters top and see the world above the fish and coral reefs or the rocky cascades of the coves? Surely not, but for someone like him, someone who belonged to the ocean, that was far to much to ask for, as simple as it may have sounded. Originally, Mikaela, had been cautious during his secret explorations to the shallow waters by the beaches edge. With each visit he would become steadily braver and dare get closer with each new appearance until gradually he’d self proclaimed a few larger rocks as his territory. HIS space to visit.
The day he met that human sitting upon the rocks just by his usual surfacing sight Mika swore he’d never seen someone, or something as enamoring as that young boy who’s thoughts and nose were buried in the pages of parchment tightly bound between a books spine. He knew, Yuu-Chan was human, and he also knew that he wanted nothing more than to get closer and know this human. It was the first he’d ever seen with his own eyes! How amazing he thought, Yuu, was.
Sure it had been nothing more than an accidental meeting. A poor choice in timing on the mermaids fault for he hadn’t bothered to check if anyone was nearby. Mika could see every detail of, Yuu’s surprised face from that time as his mouth hung open in shock, his eyes blown wide with wonder. At first, Mika had wanted to tell the young human to flee before he’s drag him down into the water and ruin whatever he was reading, but something in those green eyes, those beautiful green wonder filled eyes, halted his thoughts.
Now years later, Mikeala pondered over whether it would have been far more beneficial to have done just that. But of course no, his own curiosity lead him to question, talk with, and befriend the human. The books he would read would be so foreign to Mika that most of their visits consisted of, yuu-chan, teaching Mika to read human Japanese scripture. There were so many characters to memorize Mikaela found himself wanting to learn more! See more of this world that he was denied seeing!
For weeks, months, perhaps even a year or two, the two boys continued to meet by their same sight of interest, those jagged but comfortable hiding rocks on the beachside. Every day was better than the one before. Yuu- chan would babble on about something of the human world and Mika himself would find himself entranced by his friends voice that he had vague thoughts that he’d be content only ever listening to the human speak, whichever tone he so chose to use.
The sun would set and by that time the two would separate, promising the other of their next time to meet up. Jose days were a blessed in Mika’s memory, the very thought of those times filled Mika’s heart even now with immense joy that he longed to feel again. To think that it all fell apart within a few days. Such a befitting tragic way to lose it all.
Mika cursed his impatience during that week. He’d gone on so much to krul about how cute, how exciting, how interesting his new friend was. Krul seemed more than overjoyed to notice his sudden change in mood at the prospect of finally finding himself bonding with someone else
As happy as he was to tell krul of all the wonderful things he and yuu-chan had some together that in itself proved to be Mika’s one mistake aside from befriending yuu-chan. Days later, impatient with his human friends delayed arrival Mika had decided he would swim up the ocean side where a small stream led into the nearby wooded area. He never dared go this far up to where humans resides but seeing all the beautiful plants and trees the sunset would light with beautiful hues of reds and oranges, Mika wanted only to go further and further up stream.
The sound of laughter made the mermaid flinch at first and so he hid himself behind a large stone and peered out from behind it. Three human children walked over what yuu-Chan informed him was called a bridge. A creation used by humans to cross over large open spaces without falling into them. Out of all the voices one stood out. Was it his yuu-chan he heard? Further peeking proved his ears to be right. His assumption it was his human friend was spot on.
Something about the scene before him however caused an uprise in emotions that Mika wasn’t familiar with all to much. Yuu-chan was smiling, laughing even with these other humans. He looked to get along so well with them.
So….naturally. He fit in with these other children much better and conversation appeared much easier for him. Mika guessed that yuu-chan perhaps had become distracted by these other humans and the fun they were having that he forgot that today was the end of the week, the day they were to meet up and talk after yuu-chan finished his studies. Mood sullied and furthermore downcast, Mikeala decided he would visit and old underwater cavern system in which it’s only air pocket was a hole in the rocks above where the moon wild shine and brighten up the glowing sea life bacteria that lived there.
The memory of yuu-Chan smiling made his chest ache so tightly that Mika would hunch over his rock with eyes stinging in unknown sadness. Remaining under the full milk for hours it dawned on the mermaid that the very real reality of his friendship with the human was that no matter how much he wished or wanted to be like Yuu. It was hopeless to assume, to hope that everything would be perfect and they could always be together. Mika was a mermaid, yuuichiro a human. Two young boys who belonged to very different worlds with vastly different rules.
Mikaela loved krul dearly, with all his heart he cares fondly for the woman who took her time to raise and spoke Mika with a variety of things as he grew up. However that night he realized how much he wanted to be with Yuu but couldn’t his world and his small dream wills only crumble further.
Upset with his dangerous and deceitful withholding of information of who Yuu-chan was, his outrageous behavior to go to the surface by himself when he cooks get hurt, krul deemed Mika fit for punishment.“
“Mika…for such a decision from someone as innocent as you, this is unforgivable. You will not be allowed to wonder by yourself or go to the surface ever again.”
That simple foul swoop of words crushed Mika’s heart. How could she do that to him if she knew how dear yuuichiro was to him? Yuu-chan made him happy, yes he was now saddened at knowing they’d never be the same, but still Yuu-chan was a very dearly loved friend of his.
Now, years later, Mika understood that krul did so only out of worry and to keep her beloved ‘child’ safe. Yes he spent days crying to himself in his chambers, tears blending with the salty water of the ocean, he understood her reasoning behind it all. Mika dared only once sneak out to the meeting site. There he found his favorite book that Yuu-chan would bring for him. The green book with that funny twist in chapter three. Yuu-charm had left it for him to look at while he wasn’t there.
Mika treasured the book when he took it below into the oceans depths with him. Yuu-chan took the time to carefully laminate the pages so water wouldn’t ruin the writing. The mermaid spent days reading the book, and even years letting his eyes wander over the pages endlessly whenever he wanted to escape reality.
Four years went by before Mika even knew it. Not once had he gone to the surface. He hardly smiled during his time away from the surface for it just didn’t seem right. He didn’t want to smile, his joy had been taken away from him in the name of protection even thought not once did he ever feel like he was in danger. Mika often wondered if, Yuu-chan still visited the old meeting site. Did Yuu-chan miss him? Had the human been worried when he didn’t show up for so long ask give up after a while of no visits?
Did he find happiness among the other humans that chatted with him so delightfully that day years ago in the past? Mika hoped so, and at the same time he didn’t want that. He wanted Yuu-chan to be happy around Mika only. Where Mika could indulge himself and selfishly keep Yuu’s bright smile to himself and only him.
One day, by sheer luck, Krul appeared to no longer stand seeing Mika go without smiling or appear happy. Yes she knew he wanted to go up the the world above and see all he’d learned and dreamed about again, but she was frightened that someone would occur that would take her beloved Mika away. Yet despite this Mika’s unhappiness proved to win over her judgement. So for one day and one day only, Mika was granted leave of his sparring with the soldiers of the guard and given a pass to go to the surface until the moon began to rise above the water.
Told this whilst reading, shock and pure anxiousness Welled inside of Mika until he couldn’t tolerate it for a second longer. He’d irate I’m his chambers and Alan his old memorized route to the surface that brought him to his old territory. Bursting from the surface, Mika could feel his pupils shrink considerably as the direct rays of the Suns light struck his eyes. The feeling was a minor welcomes inconvenience.
Not a single thing had changed about his old favorite spot. The waters were still clear, the rocks still as large and flat for sitting despite being s little work away now from the assaults of extremely salty water. Mika wanted to cry tears of joy. His heart soared with bittersweet happiness. Yes to be back he was feeling better than he had in so long but casting a glance to a single rock, one where he could still picture a smiling young Yuu-chan, his heart only ached more.
He was alone here. There was nobody else now. Clutching his treasured book tightly Mika swam to the closest rock and hauled himself over onto its warm flat surface until only the mere edge of his tail fin remained below the water. Again for the probably thousandth time, Mika began to read the book carefully, turning each page gently and committing the words to memory.
The suns position in the sky had barely changed when his ears caught the sound of scraping shoes against rock sediment. Spooked and worried about being found out so early into his reunion with the world above, he dropped the book and quickly dragged himself into the water with as little sound as he could manage.
He let at least a few seconds go by until deciding to go to a nearby rock to hide behind and look around its side to see who it was that wondered over to this usually abandoned place. Well now it probably wasn’t years later but when he was younger it was. Getting a moderately good look, Mika determined it was a human, a young man, more than likely around his same age, fifteen or am sixteen years old.
They were wearing a faded green jacket and dark swim trunks. Their hair an absolute mess with ravenous cowlicks seemingly stuck there without any hope of smoothing them down. The human had their back to them. He heard them grumble about something, then notice something just beside their foot.
His book! Mika clutched the rock he was hiding behind. How could he have dropped it! That was his one treasure and he just let it fall during his panic like an idiot. Torn between fleeing and keeping under water and Saying something, Mika chose to watch the humans behavior slowly change. They picked up the book with shaking hands, flipping through its pages rapidly and murmuring softly to much for Mika to make out.
Was something up with them? Were they confused to find a book there? Without hesitation the human closed the book and looked out over the ocean, and in a desperate voice yelled
Shocked to hear his name Mikeala shrank further behind the rock. Only one big could know of his name and be human and where his heart and mind both raced, he remained still behind the rock, never uttering a sound.
“MIKA?! Where are you?! I know you’re out there! Please…please come talk to me!” Of course Mika knew who it was. Yuu sank to his knees, his voice cracking slightly as he pleaded his old friend come and speak to him just once more. After so long and so many days. Why would he not appear?
“I’ve come every day.” He hiccuped. “For four years I came here waiting for you. Why won’t you come and talk to me anymore?” Yuu turned around to sit on the rock, leaning his side against the incline of it, his face pitiful and heartbreaking. There were tears collecting in his eye, and his face reflecting deep sorrow.
“Did I say something to upset you? I’m sorry if I did.” Oh his voice just kept getting quieter and worse sounding the more he forced it as he tried not to cry.
Mika wanted so badly to go and wipe those tears away from Yuu’s cheeks. Assure him that he did nothing wrong and he still held Yuu-chan deeply in his heart above all others. It was his only day on the surface…but.
Mika knew better. “I’m sorry, yuu-chan.” They just couldn’t be together and neither of them would ever probably find full happiness but that’s how unfair the world was where two different worlds diverged into existence. Silently Mika watched yuu sit upon the rock, sniffling and running at his eyes as he looked through the book again.
Like this, as unfulfilling as it was, Mika decided this was enough. Watching yuu-Chan simply live, breathing and moving around in front of him. Knowing deep down that he left this kind of impact on someone he cared so much for that they were in tears for him. About him.
Yuu-chan missed him and he yuu-chan. But their worlds were not the same and they could not exist in the same life together like they wanted. They would never find happiness for it was not in their fate. For hours Mika sneakily would place shells around the rock when yuu-chan wasn’t looking. Picking ones in the color he remembered to be the other boys favorite. Each new she’ll caused more tears and more pleas doe Mika to come up and speak. To show any sign that he was there.
His last day on the surface, until the very same moon rose over the water, Mika found a bittersweet love in those tears that he caused yuu-chan to spill over him. Yuu-chan, exhausted, picked up every she’ll that had mysteriously but obviously been left for him on the rocks edge. There was a green one, a deep night sky black, and a pristine blue one resembling a calming and familiar hue.
That night Mika watches yuu-chan leave their meeting site, still rubbing his nose, but his hoodie pocket stuffed with shells and the book under his arm.
“I give you my upmost loved treasure, yuu-chan. I wish we could be more but I can only watch you walk away from me. I hope….that one day. We can find happiness, somewhere in the future, or maybe the next life.” Mika’s throat began to ache when he sank back into the water and swam home.
His last day on the surface was one that left a bad taste in his mouth.
“What a bittersweet way to end it all, huh Mika?” Yuu-chan looked over to ocean every day and night for another possible ‘mysterious’ visit. But none came. “Let’s be friends again, Mika. The next time we meet.”
I may write a happier ending but I like hurting these two. A lot. Haha. Ok now for sleep.
One of the bloodiest battles of the early American Civil War, the Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862 left over 16,000 wounded men on the battlefield. Due to the inadequacy of medical care, which was completely unprepared in handling mass casualties, many wounded men were left lying on the battlefield for hours, even days. The area around Shiloh was a very wet, swampy area, and there was constant rain. Many wounded men lied for hours in fetid mud swampy puddles. When collecting the wounded, many at Shiloh on both sides noted that countless of the wounded had wounds that would glow a faint green. In addition, medics and surgeons noted that those who had the glowing wounds tended to have a higher survival rate, tended to heal and recover faster, and tended to have less scarring after the wound had healed. The mystery of the glowing wounds almost seemed paranormal, a miracle that could only be done by God. Thus, many referred to the phenomenon that occurred that night as “angel’s glow”. The cause of angel’s glow remained a mystery.
Then in 2001 two teenagers named William Martin and Jonathan Curtis found an answer. When the two students learned that their microbiologist mother was experimenting with a type of luminescent bacteria called Photorhabdus luminescens, they came up with a theory for their local high school science fair. After researching P. luminescens and researching the conditions of the Shiloh battlefield, they found an amazing answer.
P. luminescens is a luminescent bacteria that glow faint green when exposed to light and oxygen. It is commonly found in the gut of small worms called nematodes, which tend to live in wet and muddy areas. Nematodes feed by burrowing into insects and secreting P. luminescens to kill them. The nematode then feeds at will. The wet and swampy conditions at Shiloh, combined with plenty of warm bodies with open wounds were perfect conditions for nematode propagation. Eventually, wounded soldiers lying in the mud would have picked up theses nematodes and been infected with P. luminescens, causing glowing green wounds. The cold conditions of Tennessee in the early spring have also helped P. luminescens to grow and propagate as they live better in cold conditions. While generally, bacterial infections are generally bad for wounds, P. luminescens will fight off other invading bacteria to protect their nematode hosts. Hence, those infected fared much better than other soldiers who were not.
I love it when History and Science meld together for a good story.
I created this piece during my Molecular Illustration course. We
performed a bacterial transformation which produced E.coli bacteria that
glowed in the dark. This process is explained in my piece and it also
explains how the bacterial transformation process can be used to create
human insulin. This piece is a 2 page spread designed to fit in a
magazine like National Geographic.
Bioluminescence seems to be a common trope in pokémon, from Lanturn to Starmie and now Watchog! Animals (and pokémon) might need to light up for a number of reasons. To attract prey, to see in the dark, to camouflage, to threaten predators, or send warnings to the rest of their pack.
In short, it’s a chemical reaction, similar to a glowstick (but with different chemicals. The chemical luciferin reacts with oxygen, to produce light! Many fish (like an anglerfish) enlist the help of bacteria to get the luciferin they need to glow.
Different chemicals can give off different colors of light, but the most common are blues and greens, because those colors travel the farthest underwater, more than 80% of all luminescent species life in the deep water. In fact, bioluminescence is used almost exclusively used by salt water animals, with a few exceptions in fireflies and some fungus. Fungi and bacteria glow continuously when the process is triggered. Algae and other animal species flash instead.
But Watchog is a mammal. The first glow-in-the-dark mammal was actually a mouse, from a Stanford project in 1995 which extracted the glowing-genes from bacteria and successfully put them into the mouse.
So, it’s possible that Watchog might have its own genes to make it glow. The glowing parts of Watchogs body, its stripes, would be the equivalent of a Firefly’s light generating organ.
Alternatively, Watchog might use some other creature to help make the light, like how fish use bacteria to get the glow. Perhaps Watchog uses a glowing fungus or algae, which grows in its fur like certain algaes do in sloths. Watchog could clean and groom its fur, keeping some areas clean and the stripes full of glow. Decorator crabs, vultures, and certain insects have been known to cover themselves with pieces of coral, miscellaneous human trash, red soil, and even the carcasses of their prey for aesthetic purposes. Watchog might do it with glowing algae!
In any case, their shine helps them scare off predators and navigate the dark tunnels they dig. So Watchog seems to have it figured out.
Watchog uses a chemical reaction, possibly created by bacteria or algae, to glow. Flashing its patterns helps scare of predators, and helps them see in the dark underground.
Have you ever read about the Angel's Glow? Glowing wounds in Civil War soldiers during the.. battle of Shiloh I believe. It's pretty neat to read about.
yes! I wrote for mental_floss online for a while, and that’s one of my favorite historical oddities I learned about from them. :3 They have a great short online synopsis about it, as well as a piece in one of their first books.
and yes, it was the Battle of Shiloh - the retreat to the swamps was where the bacteria naturally grew. I’ve made a note to do a proper post on this sometime.