How a Fish Steals Its Ability to Glow

Many organisms have evolved bioluminescence, but the golden sweeper’s lights comes from the glowing shrimp in its diet.

Comments: 2

  1. Quite an interesting effect. Perhaps revolutionary for the Cosmetics industry. Imagine a cream that, applied to the skin, causes a temporary bioluminescent glow. Perhaps an eye shadow that REALLY highlights. And in this instance, if the luciferin and luciferase could be combined with other other enzymes to create a substance that mimics the klepto-luminescence of the golden sweeper fish, a potion or pill could be developed to change the way we display ourselves. Cool Sci-Fi stuff! (I should get a bazillion dollars for this idea. Too bad I can't implement it. Oh well, Go For It, Mary Kay!)

  2. The midwater fish, midshipmen or Poricthys notatus, gets bioluminescence from their diet of ostrcods as well as the golden sweeper. A quick literature search shows that the ostracod make their own light producing chemicals for this reaction. Midshipmen are fairly common and their photophores line their bodies in a manner that suggested the buttons on a sailors coat, hence the name midshipmen. This fish has a complicated reproductive strategy that includes smaller males who mimic females which allows them into the nest so they are able to fertilize eggs which are laid on hard surfaces then guarded by the male who built the nest. Plus, the courting male midshipmen sing. It's a lot like the cicadas and getting close to a nest underwater often caused me headaches besides being disorienting. The males guarding a nest die after the young hatch and swim off into the deep. When the eggs hatch the young mostly all face the same direction and remain attached to the rock for some time. They'll all move their tails in unison to create a current and renew the water in the nest. The deepwater fish I like is the deep sea dragon fish that makes light in the red wavelengths as well as being able to see in those wavelengths. It's just like a predator using night vision while hunting - it can see the prey but the prey doesn't detect the light source - so this fish sees prey which have evolved to be red as camouflage but the prey doesn't see any light. Yeah, it's a jungle there too.