What Is Bioluminescence?

In this week’s blog post, we’ll be discussing bioluminescence! This is a concept that you might be familiar with, but didn’t realize it had a name. Bioluminescence is a trait that some organisms have which allows them to produce and emit light. The emission of light is caused by a type of chemical reaction. This is not to be confused with florescence, which does not occur from a chemical reaction.

What Is Bioluminescence Used For?

Organisms use bioluminescence for a variety of different reasons! These include:  Luring prey, attracting mates, counter illumination camouflage, and mimicry.

Counter Illumination Camouflage: Some squid use bacterial bioluminescence in order to match the overhead light as seen from below.

Mimicry: Some species use mimicry to copy other species. This can be used for their own safety, or to catch prey.

Who Uses Bioluminescence?

The majority of organisms who use bioluminescence are marine organisms such as jellyfish, crustaceans, and bacteria and fungi. Of these marine organisms, almost none of them live in freshwater habitats. There are also a few land dwelling bioluminescent creatures worth mentioning, like fireflies and glow worms.