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A Brilliant Defense

On Exhibit posts

Humans marvel at the beauty of glowing organisms, but usually, nature’s light displays serve a much more practical purpose.

When pushed to the limit by a predator, the vampire squid envelops its adversary in a smokescreen of glowing particles. After ejecting luminescent mucus from the tips of its eight tentacles, this master of disguise makes its escape, “flying” through water with its fins rather than jet-propelling like most other cephalopods. The sticky mucus, which glows for up to 10 minutes, may even coat the predator and make it more vulnerable to attack.

Tags: Members

Museum Releases Free Companion iPad App for Creatures of Light Exhibition

On Exhibit posts

The Museum’s free companion iPad app for the popular new exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence offers a close look at some of the extraordinary organisms that produce light. The app, which has been featured in the New and Noteworthy section of the iPad app store, reveals the beauty of bioluminescence through interactive animations, photo galleries, and videos. Each chapter of the app, which is adapted from the iPad content featured throughout the exhibition gallery, is set to a symphonic soundtrack composed exclusively for Creatures of Light.

Tags: Bioluminescence

Fireflies

As Firefly Numbers Seem to Slide, Researchers Ponder Effects on Ecosystems

On Exhibit posts

Firefly larvae are voracious predators, feeding on snails, slugs, and earthworms and keeping ecosystems in delicate balance. Many are stocking up on food for their whole adulthood, throughout which they will never eat. Some climb trees in pursuit of arboreal snails. Others have gills like fish that allow them to dive for aquatic snails, whose shells they then use for protection like hermit crabs. In parts of Asia, a large mollusk called an apple snail has ravaged important crops such as rice, and firefly larvae are being explored as a potential form of biocontrol to protect those nations’ food supply.

Tags: Bioluminescence

creatures image

Creatures of Light: Inside the Studio

On Exhibit posts

Months before the opening of Creatures of Light on March 31, a team of preparators at the Museum began developing custom models of glowing organisms that light up the exhibition. Director of Exhibition Design Michael Meister and other members of the Exhibition Department share how they conduct visual research for these unique models, work with curators to make them scientifically accurate, and meet the various lighting challenges of creating an exhibition about bioluminescence.

Tags: Bioluminescence

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