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July 12, 2005

Deep Sea Creature Hunts With Red Light

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The current issue of Science magazine contains a report of the discovery of the first deep–ocean invertebrate — a relative of the jellyfish — to use red fluorescent light emissions to lure prey.

The creatures were found at depths between 5,200 feet and 7,500 feet by scientists using a remote–controlled research vehicle off the coast of California.

Watch a movie of the red–emitting hunter in action here.

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Here's the abstract of the report.

    Bioluminescent and Red-Fluorescent Lures in a Deep-Sea Siphonophore

    Bioluminescence (light production) and fluorescence (re-emission of absorbed radiation as light) are found in an unaccountably diverse array of marine organisms, where their functions are largely unknown.

    Here we report a deep-sea siphonophore that twitches glowing lures to attract fish.

    This is rare evidence of bioluminescence used for prey attraction among nonvisual marine organisms.

    The lures also contain red fluorescent material that shifts the wavelength of emitted light.

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    The existence of a red-luminescent invertebrate suggests that long-wavelength light plays a greater role in marine interactions than previously suspected.

July 12, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

Red Lights = Dinner?

Posted by: Robin | Jul 12, 2005 12:52:41 PM

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