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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.