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Creatures of Light

Creatures of Light

Have you ever captured a glowing firefly? On a warm summer evening, a firefly’s light seems rare and magical. Yet the tree of life is spangled with organisms that blink, glow, flash, and glitter. Welcome to the world of bioluminescence—the generation of light by living things.

Exhibition Highlights

Jellyfish thumb


About the Exhibition

Explore the diversity of organisms that glow and learn how scientists study this amazing natural phenomenon in the latest exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History, now on view.


Staff Profile

Meet the Curator

John Sparks is curator-in-charge and associate curator in the Department of Ichthyology. His research interests include the evolution of bioluminescent signaling systems in marine fishes.


Reference List


Discover extraordinary organisms that produce light, from the flickering fireflies found in backyards across the Northeast to the deep-sea fishes that illuminate the perpetually dark ocean.


Reference List

More at the Museum

Find related programs, links to articles about bioluminescent animals, information about the Young Naturalist Awards, and more.




Watch a collection of videos related to the exhibition.


Curriculum Collection

For Educators

Travel with your students from a warm summer meadow to the deep sea to explore the phenomenon of bioluminescense with this practical and printable exhibit guide.

Creatures of Light: Nature's Bioluminescence is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada, and The Field Museum, Chicago.

Generous support for Creatures of Light has been provided by the Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund.

Creatures of Light

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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