More Deep-Sea Shrimp Species Prove to Be Light Emitters

FIU’s Heather Bracken-Grissom is part of team that has identified more than 150 species of shrimp that have the ability to emit light. Their findings show that bioluminescence is more common among deep-sea animals than was previously understood. Some species emit light by vomiting luminous secretions while others employ specialized light organs called photophores. Some do both.

Although it had been thought that luminous secretions were the most common type of bioluminescence, the team found that more species that rely on photophores. Shrimp may use bioluminescence for camouflage, defense, or to communicate with other shrimp. “Bioluminescence is the universal language of light in the deep sea,” says Bracken-Grissom.

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