[Deepsea] New found species of bioluminescent siphonophores
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Mon Jul 11 15:47:59 EST 2005
BRIGHT LIGHTS LURE PREY IN DEEP SEA
from San Francisco Chronicle
Marine biologists exploring the deep sea off the coast of Monterey Bay have
discovered a curious species of invertebrates that lures its prey by
flashing brilliant red lights at the ends of its twitching tentacles.
The wormlike members of a marine tribe known as siphonophores are a
striking example of evolution having endowed an organism with a feature
even its closest relatives don't possess: a set of genes
for "bioluminescent" light, which in an immature animal flashes blue but
switches to deep red as it matures.
Distantly related to jellyfish and corals, the animals are a newfound
species of an obscure genus called Erenna -- whose other luminous members
use their light only to defend themselves against larger predators, not to
hunt and kill prey on their own, according to Steven D. Haddock of the
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
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