biology

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Science

Tiny Shrimp-like Organisms Try to Illuminate the Insides of Fish That Eat Them

September 4, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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No, these aren’t light vomiting fish, though you would be forgiven for thinking so because that’s exactly what it looks like. What you’re seeing is the defense mechanism of a tiny crustacean called an ostracod, a shrimp-like organism about 1mm in size that some fish accidentally eat while hunting for plankton. When eaten by a translucent cardinalfish, the ostracod immediately releases a bioluminescent chemical in an attempt to illuminate the fish from the inside, making it immediately identifiable to predators. WHAT. Not wanting to be eaten, the cardinalfish immediately spits out the ostracod, resulting in little underwater fish fireworks. What an incredible game of evolutionary cat and mouse. The clip above is from a new show on BBC Two called Super Senses. If you’re in the UK you can watch it online in HD for a few more days. (via For Science Sake)

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Design

The Dino Pet: A Living, Bioluminescent Pet

August 21, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Conceptual mock-up of the Dino Pet

Designed by Yonder Biology (“The DNA Art Company”), the Dino Pet is a dinosaur-shaped habitat for a species of bioluminescent marine algae that photosynthesizes during the day and glows at night. “Dino” is actually a sort of a play on words, as the actual organisms contained inside the toy model are called Dinoflagellata and are known for their ability to glow when physically agitated (ie. shaken). The pet lives for 1-3 months and can potentially live indefinitely if the algae is supplied with the proper food. The Dino Pet is currently funding on Kickstarter, get your own for a pledge of $40. (via PSFK)