E.Widder/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution *  1999
There has been some debate in the past about whether or not cephalopods actually bioluminesce.  Past studies have speculated that observed luminescence is due to reasons ranging from infection due to luminous bacteria to reflection of ambient light by iridophores. (8)  However, it has since been reported that at least some octopods possess a circumoral organ which has the ability to luminesce significantly in conditions that eliminate any type of outside luminescence.  It should be noted that this organ is only present in the female gender of the species studied (Eledonella pygmaea and Japetella diaphana).  This fact points to the conclusion that bioluminescence is advantagous in the mating behavior of octopods.


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Questions or Comments?  Please email me at macody@davidson.edu.