Name: Nicholas L Walker
Why do certain fish glow???
Some fish are able to produce light by a chemical process
called "bioluminescence" (which means "life light")
Fish glow for many different reasons. They may need to
identify other members of their species in near-total
darkness, deep in the ocean, so they can find a mate; they
glow to scare away a predator; or, they might use their
light like the deep sea angler fish does, to attract curious
animals that the angler fish eats as soon as they come close
There are 2 different kinds of bioluminescence that we know of.
In one type the animal has special cells that are called
"photophores", that produce light (like the deep sea angler).
In another type, the animal has bacteria living inside, and
the bacteria are what glow (like the flashlight fish).
Both processes depend on an enzyme called "luciferase".
Thanks for the question!!
Tom F Ihde
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Update: June 2012