Yes, there are lots! The ability of a living organism to produce light is called bioluminescence, and many creatures have it. One of the most well-known examples is the firefly. Other land critters that can emit light are glowworms, as well as some centipedes and millipedes. Bioluminescence is even more common in the ocean, especially in the disphotic zone, where light from the sun is scarce. Bioluminescent sea creatures include certain species of fish, jellyfish, shrimp, squid, marine worms and krill.
Possibly my favorite of nature’s light shows is the reaction of phosphorescence on the beach. This is present nearly every night at the Bahia Fosforoscente (Phosphorescent Bay), in Costa Rica, where marine conditions of warm tropical water and plentiful sunlight allow millions of tiny creatures known as dinoflagellates to store energy all day long, brightly glowing in the dark when riding the crashing waves at night.
A video from San Diego in 2011 show’s the reactions of these creatures while under attack from a local surfer.
In Cairns, Australia, you can even take a night time kayak tour and play with the little glow-in-the-dark algae yourself.
Bioluminescent animals create light by luminescence, as opposed to incandescence, like electric light. Electric light produces light by way of heat, which wastes a lot of energy. Animals create their light by a combination of chemicals compounds that react and glow. Jellyfish are able to glow in the dark because of a protein called the Green Fluorescent Protein, which, just as it sounds, glows in the dark.
Glow worms, large earthworms, black dragonfish, angler fish, dana octopus squid, cookie-cutter shark, firefly squid, and the flashlight fish are a few more examples of bioluminescent animals.
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