They Glow
They Glow!

Only the top layer of the ocean gets a lot of sunlight. Many marine animals aren’t in the dark, however, because they make their own light. Some animals, like the Bermuda fireworm, use a process called bioluminescence. Chemicals in the bodies mix together to produce “cold light,” which doesn’t give off any heat. Some bioluminescent animals, like the anglerfish, get their glow from tiny microbes that live inside special light organs in their bodies.

The blue-ringed octopus uses fluorescence, another process that can cause things to glow. When disturbed, blue circular rings flash all over its body. Instead of making their own light, they can absorb and re-emit light from outside their bodies.

music notes with bermuda fireworks, angler fish, and blue-ringed octopus
Glowing in the Ocean

Sing along with out favorite animals that glow: the anglerfish, Bermuda fireworms, and a blue-ringed octopus.

Other Glow in the Dark Creatures
Other Glow in the Dark Creatures
lantern fish

Lantern fish use bioluminescence to protect themselves from predators. By lighting their bodies, their silhouette is less visible from below.

flashlight fish

Flashlight fishes have special pouches of glowing bacteria under their eyes. When they want to turn on their lights, they lower folds of skin below each eye. By using a technique known as "blink and run," they can swim in one direction with their lights on, then quickly turn them off and swim in another direction. Eventually their predator gets disoriented and the flashlight fish escapes.

Image Credits:

Photos: Flashlight fish: California Academy of Sciences/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); Lanternfish: AMNH; Bioluminescence animation: Armistead Booker