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Firefly Squid Light Up the Japanese Coast

The Firefly Squid Watasenia scintillans inhabits the Western Pacific and is well known to be found in Toyama Bay, Japan. The 3-inch long creatures employ bioluminescent glands in each tentacle to attract and hunt prey. Surprisingly, this is the only species of of cephalopod that is suspected of having color vision.

Sparkling enope squid: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparkling_enope_squid

Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/the-firefly-squid-beach

Pinktentacle:
http://pinktentacle.com/2006/04/tourists-bask-in-blue-glow-of-firefly-squid/

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Rajini Rao's profile photoJim Carver's profile photoJonas Neergaard-Nielsen's profile photolin dunc's profile photo
27 comments
 
A stunning image, it would be impressive to see in person.
Hung Do
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How amazing they are! How can these squids have light inside them?
 
No, this is part of the 'New' Titanic 3D promotion...-James Cameron was never the same after Avatar you know!
 
Yep, that's good my friend. Nice job.
 
+Rich Pollett I guess I never thought about their vision, but my favorite cephalopod is the octopus. A skilled hunter, and a master of disguise. As a diver I have seen them change color and texture to camouflage themselves. I would be surprised if they couldn't see color, they manage to mimic it so well.

I prefer the warm waters of the Caribbean, and on a night dive I always take the opportunity to turn off the light and wave my hand rapidly back and forth to stimulate the bioluminescence.
 
Luminous and lovely, +Rich Pollett ! I'd like to write up something on the chemistry behind bioluminescence :)
 
I'm looking forward to it +Rajini Rao :) I ran across these, as it's the season for the annual spawn. I neglected the link to bioluminescence, +Jim Carver added one in the comments. I'd have to check but I think it's linked from the Sparkling enope squid wiki also. However I'd love to see what you'll do with it, the chemistry would be wonderful.
 
Fukushima Daiichi squid, glowing bright in Nippon.
 
I'd be interested in the bioluminescence discussion as well. Good stuff!
 
Wow, never heard of these before. Pretty spectacular! Am I wrong in believing that most of the bioluminescent sea creatures live in the deep sea?
 
Yes, 80% of bioluminescence comes from the oceans!
 
+Jonas Neergaard-Nielsen It's my understanding that up to 90 percent of creatures in the deep sea are thought to be bioluminescent, often snaring victims using glowing lures.
 
So these guys are also from deep or semi-deep seas - isn't it surprising that they keep glowing after they're stranded?
 
Actually the spawning season of the firefly squid runs from March to May. During this time, the squid can be seen gathering in large numbers in Toyama Bay in Japan. They gather here by the millions, and sometimes by the billions, to lay their eggs. Once the eggs have been released into the water and fertilized, the adult squid begin to die. This completes the one-year life cycle of the squid. However this annual light show is so spectacular that the area where they gather has been designated as a special natural monument. Toyama Bay lies above a deep, v-shaped canyon in which the sea floor drops away suddenly. The flow of the ocean currents usually wells up from the bottom of this canyon and pushes the squid to the surface. Occasionally the squid can be found washed up on the shore in large numbers during a phenomenon referred to by locals as "squid drowning themselves". This event can cover the shoreline for miles, bathing the beaches in an erie blue glow.
 
But there seems to be no reason for them to glow while they're drowning themselves? Unless they simply want to leave this world in one hell of a party...
 
Apparently the angler fish has the ability to initiate or sustain the reaction in it's lure.
The phenomena is not restricted to deep sea creatures. I have most commonly witnessed it within sport diving limits of 80 feet of the surface where a type of algae ( Pyrocystis fusiformis) reacts to turbulence.

Blue glow ocean in Cairns from cairns.com.au!

+Rich Pollett it is documented behavior of some squid that they "migrate' from deep water to shallow for feeding. I wonder if this might be responsible for the squid being in the surface depths.
 
stunning! two of my favorite things: Jellyfish and Bioluminescence
 
Wow! That looks fantastic. Wonderful colour : )
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