Defense



D. Smith/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution *  1999
One of the most advantageous characteristics of bioluminescence is that of defense.  While many defensive techniques are produced, one of the most common is the "burglar alarm" technique.  This technique is shown in three steps in the figure at left.  In step one, small predator is feeding on its bioluminescent prey, when a larger predator swims near.  In step two, the prey uses its bioluminescence to attract the larger predator, resulting in the fleeing of the smaller predator (step three).  (6, 9, 10)
This "burglar alarm" is often stimulated by contact, and several studies have been conducted on "dolphin-stimulated" bioluminescence. (9, 10)
The jellyfish at right is shown employing its own "burglar alarm."   (6)

A Jellyfish Bioluminescing
E.Widder/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution *  1999


 

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