Hi Everyone! Squirt here! Are you ready to learn some more about bioluminescence and the amazing Dragonfish?
Bioluminescence means “living light” and is the light produced by a living organism due to a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction is a change in structure or energy of compounds. In bioluminescence, chemical energy is converted into light and heat. The light is what causes the glowing we see. What is amazing about bioluminescence is that almost all of the energy is converted into light rather than heat! This is in contrast to what happens when you turn on a lamp where most of the energy is converted to heat rather than light.
In nature, bioluminescent organisms produce light in a variety of colors from violet to red to green to blue. It’s estimated that 90% of all animals in the twilight depths of the ocean (200 – 1000 meters) are bioluminescent, including some of my squid cousins! Other types of organisms that are bioluminescent in the ocean, including jellyfish, bacteria, and fishes. Many of these organisms emit blue-green light, as these colors are the most easily visible in the deep ocean .
Remember the Dragonfish the DEEPEND scientists caught in the MOCNESS nets? We saw all of its teeth and the barbel hanging down from its chin. The barbel glows as chemical energy is changed into light energy. As the barbel glows the Dragonfish can use it to attract food. I would find a glowing object interesting enough to see what it is, wouldn't you? Yikes, I guess I would be someone's food!
Scientist Dante took some more pictures. Let's take a more detailed look at them! Look at the beautiful color and texture of the Dragonfish’s skin. It kind of looks like goosebumps! The Dragonfish also has photophores. Photophores are organs that produce light.
If you look closely here you can see red photophores that are near the eye of the fish. These photophores only emit red light. This is important because very few animals can see red light deep in the ocean. But, the Dragonfish can see this red light and he can use the light to hunt for food.
The Dragonfish also has feathery gills. Check them out! They remind me of bird feathers! We can also see more photophores. Notice how they seem to be everywhere on the fish. Dragonfishes may use photophores on their sides and even their tails to recognize other individuals of the same species, even the opposite sex, in the dark. They might also be used to confuse predators. Or maybe they use them to send secret messages to other fish!
The Dragonfish is a pretty spectacular animal! I'm excited to see what else the scientists have to share with us next.