SEED Magazine: The Evolution of Illumination

SEED Magazine has an interesting piece on bioluminescent organisms.

One paragraph in particular reads like Mother Nature’s version of interactive lighting control:

“Their lights have a variety of purposes: Camouflage, attracting mates, attracting (or distracting) prey have all been observed. In animals with nervous systems, in most cases, neural activity initiates the bioluminescence. But in the velvet belly lantern shark, Lynn says, researchers found that the glowing was not caused by nerve cells. Instead, it seemed, certain hormones controlled the glow: Melatonin and prolactin turned it on, and a hormone called Alpha-MSH turned it off. This makes some sense, as melatonin is activated by darkness (it helps control sleeping behavior in humans). This species of shark uses glowing as a form of camouflage.”

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