Glow Fish: Shedding Some Light on Deep-Sea Creatures
An in-the-dark exhibit that will brighten your day.
Credit: Exhibit Q
Somewhere between spooky and spectacular, glow-in-the-dark creatures are poorly understood and hard to come by, often living in the deep, dark zones of the world's oceans.
Fortunately for landlubbers, Glow: Living Lights is making its way through a fifteen-city North American tour. The exhibit explores bioluminescent animals, which rely on a chemical reaction inside their bodies to make their own light. They use their inner glow to find a mate, ensnare prey, or foil predators. In some cases, the light is produced by bacteria that exist in a symbiotic relationship with the host animal. The flashlight fish, one of the few bioluminescent creatures that can survive the pressure change of a trip to the surface, for example, hosts pockets of bioluminescent bacteria in bags under its eyes.
Visitors to the darkened exhibit halls can sneak a peak at the 6-inch fish (well, at globs of light flitting around the darkened tank -- the fish die if exposed to light), and in the summertime, the exhibit also features live fireflies. Other displays, on topics like using bioluminescence in the lab, and footage of deep-sea creatures (more than 90 percent of which produce their own light), complete the show.