Have you ever wondered🤔 why fireflies flicker?
Why does water surface glows in dark?
The reason is phenomenon of bioluminescence. Have a read:
Bioluminescence is the process through which light is produced and emitted by living organisms.
It is generally found in the aquatic marine organisms living in water columns, under deep sea, among corals etc. It also occurs in the fireflies.
Scientists believe that bioluminescence could be the most common way of communication on the planet because the phenomenon mostly occurs in deep sea, which occupies the major portion of planet!!
They have also discovered that the phenomenon of bioluminescence has evolved around 40 times in the course of evolution while rayfinned fishes alone have evolved about 27 times.
Lanternfish have a light emitting organ, photophores present at their belly, ventral surface and a light organ at nose acts as a headlight.
A biological clock controls bioluminescence in the dinoflagellate, Pyrocystis fusiformis i.e. after the sunset chemicals responsible for light emission are synthesized.
The phenomenon is known to be existing in 1,500 species of fish, bacteria, algae, sharks, sea stars, jelly fishes and crustaceans.
Some dinoflagellates form blooms on the surface of ocean giving reddish-brown colour to them. But, at night, they sparkle with the waves of ocean. Some of them are toxic to living system thus, given the name harmful algal blooms (HBA). When they are consumed by aquatic organisms, they fall ill or may die too.
The way bioluminescent organisms flicker is due to a chemical reaction occurring in their abdomen, a molecule called luciferin which reacts with oxygen to produce light. In some organisms, an enzyme called luciferase catalyzes this reaction.
Different forms of luceferin is present in different species.
Sometimes luciferin occurs in the form of photo-protein, which immediately lights up an organism in presence of calcium ions.
As bioluminescent organisms live deep under the ocean, lights of only smaller wavelength like, blue and green wavelengths of light reach our eyes when we observe them.
1. Protection from Predators- Squid release bioluminescent fluid to confuse predators.
2. Attraction of Mates- Some worms and crustaceans use bioluminescence to attract their mates.
3. Feeding- Some fishes create a lighted lure near their mouth to attract the prey.
Hope you liked the post.
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