The Beacon

Blog Tags: Bioluminescence

Happy Halloween! Meet the Ocean Animals in Costume All Year (Photos)

Ocean animals are in costume all year

Pygmy seahorses, which can change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. (Photo: Tom Gruber / Flickr Creative Commons)

Happy Halloween, ocean lovers! Today, many people are delighting in the one day of the year where they can dress up to be any figure that these please. But in the vast ocean, many species are in costume all year—dazzling bright photophores to trick prey, or changing their skin tone to blend in with their environments. The deep-sea anglerfish, for example, flashes it lure covered in light-producing cells to attract and trick prey in the cold, dark waters, while species like the firefly squid emits bioluminescent ink to also confuse predators.


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Fact of the Day: Cookiecutter Shark

Today’s FOTD is brought to you by the letter C, which is for cookie…and cookiecutter shark

Unlike most of the other sharks I’ve written about so far, the cookiecutter shark is a relatively small shark; they only reach about 20 inches in length. Like some other sharks, such as great white sharks, female cookiecutters are larger than their male counterparts. 

Despite their small size, these sharks still have quite a bite. They latch onto their prey and create suction with their large lips. Then they use their powerful jaws and many teeth to carve a circular chunk of flesh out of the unlucky victim.  (Get it? Like a carnivorous, marine cookiecutter?)

Cookiecutter sharks attack large fish like tuna or even whales and dolphins; the prey usually survives the attack but the telltale round scar remains. They are also bioluminescent; they have a patch on their bellies that glows in the dark, deep waters where they live. They use their bioluminescence to attract potential prey.

See you tomorrow for another shark FOTD and I hope you’re enjoying Shark Week as much as I am!


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