8 Beautiful Bioluminescent Creatures From the Sea

By Danielle Venton 

While a handful of land animals can create their own light, homemade luminescence is the rule rather than the exception in the open ocean’s dark waters.

Researchers estimate that between 80 and 90 percent of deep-dwelling animals are bioluminous, creating light by mixing the pigment luciferin with luciferase, the enzyme that makes it glow. The light tends to green and blue, colors that travel far in seawater. Glowing helps attract mates, lure prey or confound predators.

Clusterwink Snail

Clusterwink Snail.  Image: Nerida Wilson/University of California, San Diego.

Hula Skirt Siphonophore

Hula Skirt Siphonophore. Image: Steve Haddock/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Deiopea Comb Jelly

Deiopea Comb Jelly. Image: Steve Haddock/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Red Tide

Red Tide. Image: catalano82/flickr.

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