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Animals that Glow : The Science of Bioluminescence

Updated on December 18, 2014
Docmo profile image

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.

The Magic of ‘Cold-Fire’

In the olden days it was called cold-fire.

When walking through the forest, our ancestors discovered glowing mushrooms on rotting wood. They called it ‘fox-fire’. They were fascinated by the fairy tale nature of insects flying through the forest with an eerie and ethereal glow. They called these ‘fire-flies’ (even though they weren’t really flies!) and they called their worms ‘ glow worms’.

When they went sailing, they were enchanted and frightened by the sea turning milky white and glow as if lit up from within, in the wake of a ship or a boat. They called this ‘sea-fire’ . They sometimes saw sea creatures glowing blue and green as if my magic. They were in awe of these mysteries of nature.


What is Bioluminescence?

Little did they know they were observing Bioluminescence - The phenomenon where a living creature – a plant or an animal- emits light from its body through a chemical reaction. A remarkably diverse set of animals, microbes and plants seem to be able to produce light this way. While most of these animals dwell underwater, there are some that live on land also.

Animal light production is an evolutionary miracle. While one can understand the deep sea dwellers evolving this capability due to sheer lack of light, there is no clear theory on how the land dwelling insects evolved this capacity to glow. Not only do the animals glow, but the glow on demand. They can switch it on and switch it off, controlling their ability to shed light.

Bioluminescent Jelly Fish
Bioluminescent Jelly Fish
Fire fly in flight
Fire fly in flight

They Make their own light

Fluorescence is the ability for certain pigments to absorb light and then emit it back, whereas Bioluminescence is the ability to produce light from scratch.

Among the many wonders of nature, the ability to produce beautiful, magical light has been fascinating scientists for a long time. Every year, more new species are discovered to be able to have this wonderful trait. And the wonder of it all it like all things that had millions of years to evolve, this reaction is the most efficient way of producing light ever seen by mankind.

GE ad about efficiency of fire-flies
GE ad about efficiency of fire-flies

Most efficient light production

What is the most efficient system of light emission known to mankind- is it LED, plasma, OLED or Laser?

It is the firefly!

A firefly is able to convert nearly 100% of its energy into light without wasting any in producing heat. By contrast the manmade light-bulb is only able to convert 10% of the electric energy into light, wasting the remaining 90% as heat.

There are lessons to be learnt from nature and the study of bioluminescence has been steadily advancing in order to harness this ability for productive uses.

Sea creatures that glow
Sea creatures that glow
Zones of the Ocean
Zones of the Ocean

A video on Bioluminescent Organisms

Who Glows there?

There is astonishing list of animals that can glow spontaneously and most of them as expected live in the sea.

Most of the have evolved in the sea. There are three layers to the oceans, the top euphotic zone where sunlight is able to penetrate fully, the second disphotic zone where only small amount of light is able to penetrate and the lower aphotic zone which is pitch dark with no light at all.

Most organisms capable of bioluminescence live in the second zone.

Among the invertebrates there are the species of fire-flies that are actually a type of beetle belonging to the species called lampyridae and their caterpillars that glow. There are click beetles, certain earthworms and the species of plankton called dinoflagellates and their associated bacterial colonies.

Among the marine creatures there are countless jellyfish, octopi, certain corals, fish and even a shark that is capable of bioluminescence. Every year more and more species are being discovered.

Direct light and ‘shared’ light

There are two ways that living organisms can produce light- one is the Direct method where there own photo organs contain the necessary ingredients to activate a light protein and emit light directly as a result.

Some creatures, however, like certain squids ( Euprymna scolopes) and crustaceans, harbour light producing bacteria in their photic organs in a symbiotic ( mutually supportive) relationship. These bacteria ( vibrio fisherii) glow usefully in return for food and nourishment from their host creature and they happily glow ever after! These are the Indirect light producers.

Bioluminescent sea water
Bioluminescent sea water

Why Blue and Green?

Blue is the only colour that can penetrate farthest under water, among all the other wavelengths. Hence evolutionally most marine creatures glow blue.

Conversely in land, the glow worms and fireflies glow a luminous green so as not to be confused for the sky.

The Luciferin reaction
The Luciferin reaction

The Science of Bioluminescence

If you are allergic to science- this is the time to look away. The phenomenon of light production in most organisms tend to depend on the presence of a protein called Luciferin ( interesting name- as Lucifer in Latin means light-bringer!) Rather than be a single type of protein the name luciferin is giving to a whole host of light producing proteins found in living beings. The enzyme called Luciferase helps to promote this catalytic reaction.

Luciferin combines with Oxygen under the catalytst Luciferase and becomes Oxyluciferin and in the process emits photons of light. The presence of a significant molecule called ATP ( Adenosine Triphosphate) seems to be vital to the production of light. As ATP is also present in all living organisms including human beings, the possibility of activating bioluminescence in other organisms and use it for medical research has been steadily advancing.

Smoke gets in your eyes!
Smoke gets in your eyes!

Shrimp squirts Predator in the eye

Acantheypyra vomits glowing opalescent fluid to distract the predator.


Mating Signals

The green glow of the firefly is a mating signal. This glow stands out in the night and contrasts from the blue of the sky and attracts the mates.

Milky- Sea
Milky- Sea

Burglar- Alarm

The Dinoflagellates ( Pyrocystis fusiformis) are the plankton that exist in their billions on the surface of the sea. They tend to glow when disturbed by a passing ship or a predator triggering a burglar-arm. This is the milky -sea phenomenon.

Shark lights
Shark lights


the lights under the shark look like a lot of little glowing fish, attracting other predators and then the shark strikes!

Euplokamis showing off
Euplokamis showing off

Showing -Off

the light is agitated to produce rainbow colours by the Euplokamis.

Swima bombiviridis green bomber
Swima bombiviridis green bomber

Swima bombiviridis – the green bomber

Drops green glowing grenades when attacked!

Why do they Glow?

There are so many reason why animals glow mostly for defence and offense.

Mate attraction

Fireflies glow as a way of attracting mates. The green light is a distinctive signal sent out by the potential mates to signal their presence and attract a partner.


The light emitted by dinoflagellates communicates a disturbance and spreads like a ‘burglar alarm’- thus when disturbed by a passing boat or a predator the plankton emit the luminous blue light as a signal, warning to others. This also attracts other predators to the area who may devour the smaller ones who feed on the plankton- the circle of life.

Luring prey

The angler fish (Melanocetus ) uniquely uses a light organ situated above its head and dangles this in front to attract unwary smaller fish and then swallows them.


A kind of shark called the cookie cutter shark emits a ‘closed encouters’ like alien light around it’s mouth that looks like smaller fish. The bigger predators approach this with the promise of a good meal, thus allowing the shark to take a large bite out of them! You’d think they’ll learn wouldn’t you.


As in the aphotic zone , predators lurk looking for prey and if they see shadows above them they will be quick to gobble them up as the light travels from above and they can spot silhouettes. For this reason certain jelly fish and other fish sport lights on their underside to mimic lights from above the sea and distract these deep sea predators.


Some fish use their light that has a unique wavelength so only they can see. They use this to spot their prey and hunt them


Certain species shrimps ( Acanthephyra) squirt luminous ink to distract their predators and escape in the confusion. You can see it in the picture.

Showing Off

Some species seemingly just how off with an extraordinary display of fireworks like the rainbow zipper ( Euplokamis) that emits a brilliant spark of fireworks and a rainbow

Angler Fish luring its prey
Angler Fish luring its prey


Angler Fish ( Melanocetus) lures it's prey

Light emitting bacteria and proteins can be used for testing cancers, infection etc.
Light emitting bacteria and proteins can be used for testing cancers, infection etc.
Lighting technology on a squid!
Lighting technology on a squid!
Tree lighting for roads?
Tree lighting for roads?

Harnessing Bioluminescence

Scientists have been studying this effect to put it to good use. There are several ideas already emerging from the practical to the science fiction.

Cancer testing

Just like how we now use enzymes to test for the presence of certain prot4ein we can make the proteins glow and detect them by the presence of light using unique scans. Some of these are already in use.

Disease progression

We can test progress of diseases such as Alzheimer’s ( as it is the deposition of certain protein in the brain) through the safe use of luminescent agents

Detecting Infection

Using bioluminescent proteins to be activated by the presence of certain bacteria we can detect infections.

Testing treatment strength and reducing length

As the presence of ATP signifies continuing bacterial infection, after antibiotic therapy we can test how much the bacterial colonies are still thriving by detecting their bioluminescence. This process has helped reduce therapy for Tuberculosis by almost three months as we can tell with much more certainty than cultures that the infection has diminished.

Search for life

Life, as we know it, depends on the enzyme ATP – this has helped NASA search for extra terrestrial life using bioluminescence principles in other planets and asteroids.

Tracking movements

Tagging certain animals with bioluminescent proteins will help us test their movements.

Lighting technology

Imagine using bioluminescent organisms to light the trees that line our highways and they will light up when they sense movements of a car. This way we can save of fortune on energy bills.


The Biolminescence web page contains all the latest research and articles on this subject and has been a valuable resource for researching this article.

Visit to Bioluminescence Bay

Do visit Hubber Mary615's wonderful hub on her visit to Bioluminescence bay in Puerto Rico.

Biolumniscence in Pandora


The planet Pandora in James Cameron’s Avatar was designed with the bioluminescence in mind creating brilliant colours from plants and animals throughout.

 Cameron, Ever the perfectionist consulted with exobiologists, botanists and physicists to create a world grounded in reality but exploring various possibilities in evolutionary science.

Leona Lewis- I see you ... from Avatar sound track

Come Glow with me!

I hope you enjoyed this tour of animals and species that glow. There are so many wonders such as this in nature that we can be constantly in awe of the power and the magnificence of our planet.

Thanks to hubmob weekly for the inspiration.

Please leave your comments below and share with your friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.

And don't forget to vote... makes all the time and research worthwhile.

Much appreciated!


Copyright © Mohan Kumar 2011

Milky -Sea due to plankton on the coastline
Milky -Sea due to plankton on the coastline


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    • nanderson500 profile image


      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great photos and very well researched. It's amazing what can be found in nature. I wasn't aware that there were so many land-based animals with glowing capabilities.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      While in the process of updating my Hub about the Bioluminescence Bay in Puerto Rico, I found out the Bay is dark now. Scientists are not sure why this has happened. Several theories: too many people were allowed in the water, sediment from the old dirt road, etc. Now there are restrictions as to how many people are allowed in the Bay. I'm happy I got to see this Bay when I did.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Very cool article. I love watching fireflies in the evening, but have heard about and never seen these other creatures. Enjoyed it.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      @ Betwarda4motion - That's wonderful - I am delighted that this hub helped inspire a young and enthusiastic mind. May I wish her the very best in her project. It makes doing hubs like this all the more worthwhile. you've made my day with your feedback and thanks for letting me know.

    • profile image

      Betwarda 4motion 

      6 years ago

      ...and 2 year after the post we are still stumbling onto greatness. My daughter has been inspired to do a science fair project on this topic. Thank you so much for your time to put this together. You have propelled a young person further into the study of bioscience.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      7 years ago from Reno NV

      My son is fascinated also by bio lumo, we took him to a special exhibit they had at the Museum of Natural History in New York when we visited family in Brooklyn last year. Awesome stuff, thank you for sharing your knowledge in this wonderful hub. Jamie

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 

      7 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I came back to read your fascinating article another time. Thanks for all the work you put into researching and writing this.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      7 years ago from London

      An absolutely stunning hub! Your presentation and photos are great and this is such an interesting subject!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      When I was a little girl I lived just off the Chesapeake Bay on a tiny creek. One of the highlights of our summer evenings was to sit on the dock with my cousins and watch the jelly that were glowing go floating by. How interesting they were every time we saw them.

      A very interesting article indeed. I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. Angels are on the way ps

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      7 years ago from Florida

      I just came back to reread and reshare and to wish you a Happy Birthday. I still think this Hub should have been a HOTD.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      7 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      So cool. One of my favorite places are aquariums. So many glowing wildlife. Very fasinating. Love the hub, thank you for sharing.

    • osaeoppongde profile image

      Deborah L. Osae-Oppong 

      7 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Very cool! Check out bioluminescence in art! Artists have really picked up on the natural light produced by luminescent organisms! :)

    • pinkhawk profile image


      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      Wow! The glowing magic of nature.. very interesting and amazing! Great piece... thanks for sharing.. ^_^!

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Extremely interesting! I became fascinated with bioluminescence when researching my hub about the synchronous fireflies here in the Smoky Mountains. Thanks for all the great information!

    • jasonmstyles profile image


      7 years ago from Wichita, KS

      This article is hands down, one of the best ones I've ever read. I knew about many of these creatures but never understood how bioluminescent worked. Kudos to you and great job on the article.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 

      7 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      Wow! You've done it again! This is another brilliant example of your being a polymath.

      Your article is well-researched, well-formatted, well-written, and extremely fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to publish this.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      8 years ago from Chennai, India

      Wow! I gained plenty of knowledge from your splendid hub! The photos and your explaination of bioluminescence and many light-emitting species and their scientific uses and especially a reminder of Avatar film all summed into a brilliant hub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Fascinating hub Mohan, I have always been interested in the glowing animals, in the old days people thought they were fairies, probably one of the reasons why the fairy stories started in the first place, after seeing a fire fly when I was in Morocco I can see why the myths started, I was absolutely gob smacked, stunned and in awe of them, brilliant hub and really interesting, nell

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Aww. that's so nice of you to say so. I find writing and sharing hubs a pleasant distraction from the busy doctoring and parenting duties. no wonder I don't sleep! I am writing a text book and I need to take a break and write non 'medical ' stuff to give my brain some creative airing. I admire many people's work here. Your pictorial travelogue is a true delight.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      I am honored just to be in your company! I'm not just saying that to get "brownie points, either". I admire writers like yourself who find the time to work outside of HP and still contribute the way you do with your talent.

      Thanks so much!

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      OF course you can- I remember you mentioning it before. I know you shared this hub on FB with your fellow travelers. Many thanks for your visit and I'll be honored if you link this one with mine. I shall reciprocate and link yours here too.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi Docmo, I finally published my vacation to Puerto Rico. We did go to the Bioluminescent Bay. May I link this Hub into mine on that subject?

      I had read this Hub before and really enjoyed it. Thanks.

    • sofs profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting, informative and awesome.. I really did not have the time to read anything just now.. but I was so drawn to this hub in the feed that I spent time reading and re-reading it. Great work Docmo. Truly Enjoyable hub. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      There are so may reaons I ADORE THIS HUB that I could list them for days! Let's start with the word "dinoflagellates"!!! I love them.

      This made me long for my days as a biology student! Learnging the tiny details of every bit of life...

      Hubs like these are so important to getting information out there in a way that engages the general public and tricks them into learning. It is intersting and fun and informative. Also great of you to add the amazing potential that bioluminesence has for the human race.

      This hub does a great job of making biology interesting and fun and hopefully will encourage people to take care of the planet - because it is totallty cool and because it holds amazing potential.

      The biology nut in me thanks you for writing this!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      This is truly a remarkable Hub! When I was in Puerto Rico, we went to the bay where the creature under the water emit light.

      You did a lot of research on this one! I voted it up, etc.etc. and will certainly share.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      8 years ago from Southern Clime

      Great job! This hub is so interesting and informative.

      My grandson awed me with his book of sea animals with light. I suppose the angler fish got my attention more than the others. It looked as it it held a lantern to light its way. They are almost unbelievable.

      When I was a child, I thought that the foxfire was a source of warmth for foxes during winter months. We called fireflies "lightning bugs." Sometimes my siblings and I would catch many of them, put them in jars with perforated tops, and use them like lamps outside at night.

      As for the other creatures you have here, I have not experienced them. Thanks for sharing.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      8 years ago from New Jersey

      Great work on this hub, highlighting all that nature has to offer (pun intended!). With all the subtopics you could easily turn this into several hubs. Very useful, beautiful, and interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Such a wonderful hub, very informative, I do not know that there are lots of animals that have the capability of glowing, I only knew few.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks Kelley- I love being able to put together a 'complete' hub as much as I can. A one stop resource that I wish myself when I'm searching for stuff! Glad you appreciate it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow the work you put into this fascinating hub is remarkable. I learned so many new things. I can't wait to share some of what I learned with my middle son. He's fascinated with marine life. Voted up and awesome and shared. Kelley .

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thank you Audra- glad you enjoyed this. I've seen this phenomenon in a lake in Ireland and fireflies in India. Bioluminscence bay sounds awesome!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I so just got a better understanding of everything I saw at Bioluminescence Bay in Puerto Rico! This is fantastic! Thank you, thank you for writing this! I willshare this with Micah and my sistr who were with me! Awesome!!

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Jamie, thank you. You had me at 'wow'. What better compliment does a hubber need :-) Thank you for your visit, votes and your generous comments. Much appreciated.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Wow, Docmo- This is an amazing hub! I enjoyed learning about all the different species that use this beautiful glowing light especially the ones the blue glow by the plankton in the ocean.. how beautiful is that?! I would love to see that in real life. I believe I have heard of it before. You explained everything in such easy and understandable terms and the photos are gorgeous as well. Thank you for a great hub, voting up and across the board :)

    • Lovely 7 profile image

      Lovely 7 

      8 years ago

      Really informative and interesting hub.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thank you very much- appreciate your visit and comments.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      This is really a wonderful phenomenon. You have presented the hub so very well. Interesting to read, the pictures are great. Voted up and awesome.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks Sai. Definitely worth working on it together.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Mo...superbly written article! I was researching bioluminescence for my talk on biotechnology: current trends in medicine...there is fascinating stuff that's on the threshold of becoming reality in the next few years; stuff like highlighting nerves during radical prostatectomy, monitoring blood sugar using fluorescent dye tagging of glucose, etc. We should do a joint article for a popular magazine perhaps!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      8 years ago from California

      Fascinating hub! Well done!

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      @ Eleina - I do share your appreciation for these ethereal underwater creatures.

      @amirashaalan- thanks for the input. Glad you came by.

    • amirashaalan profile image


      8 years ago from Cairo

      Some creatures, however, like certain squids ( Euprymna scolopes) and crustaceans, harbour light producing bacteria in their photic organs in a symbiotic ( mutually supportive) relationship. These bacteria ( vibrio fisherii) glow usefully in return for food and nourishment from their host creature and they happily glow ever after! These are the Indirect light producers.

      i like that :)

    • profile image

      Eleina S. 

      8 years ago

      I love the beautiful underwater creatures, there so fantastic. I just love nature! F.Y.I.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      @sgbrown- I'm glad you liked the info and pics. Thank you !

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very interesting hub! I used to catch fireflies when I was a kid. I love all the information and the pictures. Voted up and awesome!

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @stormbaughman- Thank you very much indeed.

    • stormbaughman profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful article. I really enjoyed reading it. (two thumbs up)

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      Thanks Raja- foxfire is fungi that glow in the dark I need to look at any other flora that glow. Thanks for the suggestion...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very interesting topic.Is there any plants or trees that glow?

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @workingmomwm- thank you so much- glad you enjoyed this hub!

      @toknowinfo - I am glad you found it educational and enjoyable. Mission accomplished!

    • toknowinfo profile image


      9 years ago

      Such a cool hub! I will never look at a fire fly the same again, now that I know it has the power of bioluminescence. Truly educational and a great read. Thanks for increasing my knowledge and my vocabulary.

    • workingmomwm profile image

      Mishael Austin Witty 

      9 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Voted up. The science is so fascinating. And I loved that line: "If you are allergic to science - this is the time to look away." Funny!

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @dahoglund - I do think the humidity gets 'them in the mood' for their mating call- the glow.

      @Eiddwen - thank you so much, I agree that we are certainly never too old to learn in fact I feel the older I get the better my learning is... my synapses tend to have better connections!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      Oh wow how intersting was this. I am bookmarking this one so that I can re read it.

      You have put in loads of hard work and it's certainly paid off.

      We are never too old to learn something new and thank goodness for that.

      Take care

      I push all the buttons on this one.


    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I remember fireflys when I grew up in Iowa. I also recall seeing them at night in the north woods of Minnesota. It seems that humidity has something to do with it.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @ Trish_M- appreciate your visit and comments.. yes it is a beautiful phenomenon and it prompted me to write about it. science and art- what a great combination!

      @ thanks drbj- I am eager to read them.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Yes, Docmo, thanks for asking. There are 9 other Weird Animal hubs in addition to the Anglerfish. Enjoy!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      9 years ago from The English Midlands

      Very good!

      This really is a beautiful and fascinating phenomenon :)

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @ No_clue, Amy, will Starr, gypsumgirl,Jane, cardelean, Fay, Cogerson, Cindy's thought and drbj-

      Really appreciate your comments and feedback as the research for this took quite some time. THere were quite a lot of stuff about Angler Fish and I thought there must be others who glow and thought it would be interestign to write about the science of bio luminescence as a whole.

      I found myself learning so much it was hard not to get carried away. I always get very enthusiastic and interested in the subject matter and when it comes to writing feel like sharing everything!

      I hope the lay out and bite size content was enough to spark the interest and inform appropriately!

      drbj will have a look at your Weird animals series. are their others in that too?

      Amy - this is my attempt to make science cool!

      Fay- now now you shouldn't be giving me ideas! you know what I am like!

      Thank you all.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks, Docmo, for exploring and researching this fascinating subject so well. I became interested in bioluminescence when I learned about the Anglerfish that attracts its food by a built in luminescent fishing rod on its head. So interested, in fact, that I wrote a hub about it: "Weird Animals - the Anglerfish." Take a look if you like.

    • Cindy's Thoughts profile image

      Cindy's Thoughts 

      9 years ago from The Adirondacks in Upstate NY

      Wow! Who knew? We have fireflies during the summer and it's always enchanting to see them. I've seen a few fish on TV, but I didn't know there were so many others! And it's very interesting that it's used in medical procedures. Thanks!

    • Cogerson profile image


      9 years ago from Virginia

      As always you have produce a hub that is very educational and very interesting.....after seeing Finding Nemo...I did lots of research on Angler Fish...they are amazing...voted up

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      9 years ago

      What a fascinating hub! I had no idea there were so many insects that glow in the dark. I must tell you, I started out trying to read this hub with my eyes closed. I thought it was about parasites. No that is not a suggestion for a new hub! :)


    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Wow that was really cool. I have always been facsinated by fireflies. We watch them all summer long from our patio. I loved the pics too.

    • Jane Bovary profile image

      Jane Bovary 

      9 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Amazing..what strange and beautiful creatures we share the world with. Great job Docmo.

    • gypsumgirl profile image


      9 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

      Thanks for an extremely interesting hub. I have always wondered how animals glow like they do. I've been to many aquariums over the years and have seen many displays that are totally in the dark...usually those that are exhibiting fish from the deep, dark depths of the ocean. Chemical reaction...really? Wow. Thanks for enlightening me!

    • WillStarr profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Another spectacular Hub by Doc!

      Up and very awesome!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Beautiful piece with gorgeous photography. It is a fascinating study and it is so amazing that fireflies light with no heat! Literally, a very "cool" topic that amazed me in the sheer number of animals that possess this "ability" and the help this amazing feat gives to medicine. Awesome read, Docmo!

    • No_Clue profile image


      9 years ago

      A super fascinating and exciting read! Just stunning and amazing!


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