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Fish Fluorescence Widespread: 180 Species Found To Glow

RATE THIS! +13
Posted in Science on 11th Jan, 2014 05:43 AM by AlexMuller

When ichthyologist John Sparks set out to the Caribbean island of Little Cayman in 2011 with colleagues, the plan was to study fluorescence in corals. But a little green eel happened to pass by one of the cameras. When the researchers saw a picture of it later on their computers, it appeared to be glowing like a ghoul out of Ghostbusters.

 

It was real, and it was fluorescing, or emitting light after absorbing a specific type of radiation, in this case blue light cast by the scientists. 

 

That finding launched a study to see how widespread biofluorescence is in fish. The researchers were astonished to find that it is quite common in both bony and cartilaginous fishes: They identified 180 species of fluorescent fish, from 50 different families. Many of these fish live in reefs and are well camouflaged, according to the study, published Jan. 8 in the journal PLOS ONE.
 
"We’ve long known about biofluorescence underwater in organisms like corals, jellyfish, and even in land animals like butterflies and parrots, but fish biofluorescence has been reported in only a few research publications," said Sparks, a study co-author and researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, in a statement. 

Tags: fishbiofluorescenceglowing fishseaoceanenvironmentFluorescence

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-11
+2
Well, this makes fish quite colourful and attractive to humans to look at. I just wonder what is are selection factors that directed evolution this way - would be great to know
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-11
+0
I found that scientists think that the fluorescence may allow individuals of the same species to recognize one other, like a kind of glowing uniform that may not be detectable by certain predators. So this could an evolutionary advantage Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-11
+1
Fluorescence proteins are very useful as a tool in science. This can help to find some new ones.
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-11
+0
And I found that the scientists who discovered and adapted the green fluorescent protein won the 2008 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Reply
Reply


 

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