This is the mysterious spectacle of bioluminescence. Its hard not to revel in the beauty of this remarkable natural phenomenon. These glowing creatures are primarily a product of the ocean. They are the primary source of light in the largest and darkest area of habitable land on Earth, the deep sea. On land, they are most commonly seen as glowing fungus on wood (foxfire) or in the few families of luminous insects (fireflies).
This beautiful jelly, (aka “the crystal jelly”) was the unlikely star of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Its a palm-sized hydromedusae and has about 150 tentacles laced with pressure-activated poison harpoons, known as nematocysts. Don’t worry, it’s no harm to humans, but its voracious appetite includes small floating animals and even other Aequorea! Around Aequorea’s ring are small glowing photocytes that give off a blue bioluminescent glow. But, these photocytes are coated with a green fluorescent substance that immediately absorbs the blue light and transforms it, making Aequorea look like a green blinking spaceship when poked. Photo: David Gruber/Vincent Pieribone. Animation: Emma Welles.