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No night lights necessary

This biofluorescent hawksbill sea turtle, spotted near the Solomon Islands earlier this year, is the first of its species ever recorded. Marine biologist David Gruber, who found the creature, has described it as looking like "a bright red and green spaceship."

Reptiles aren't generally known for glowing in the dark, and it's still not clear why this creature glows in neon colors. But there are plenty of other animals who have been getting their glow on for a very long time...

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Fluorescent mouse

This mouse has been genetically modified with green-fluorescent protein (GFP) attached to actin molecules.

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Deep-sea viperfish

Marine biologists aren't exactly sure why the deep-sea viperfish has a dual strip of airport-style photophores along its abdomen, but the prevailing theory has to do with attracting prey.

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Glow worm

This female glow worm was found blazing a trail of light in Malaysia. And if you think she's cool, consider this: One member of this species, the railroad worm, has an additional red light on its head.

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Brittle star

In contrast, it's assumed that the bioluminescence that's emitted from brittle stars somehow deters predators. Most brittle stars produce light in green wavelengths, but there are a few, like this one, who shine blue.

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Comb jelly

Most species of comb jelly can glow in the dark. The behavior is usually spurred by some kind of disturbance, and young comb jellies glow more intensely than their elders.

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Chain catshark

Yep, this a shark. But the most dangerous thing it does to humans is dazzle them with its glow.

Published:Caption:Photo:J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. PieriboneRead the article
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Fireflies

Fireflies use their bioluminescence to attract mates.

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Slender hatchetfish

These deep-sea fish have extremely thin profiles that live up to their name. The photophores along their bodies make them look like glowing hatchets.

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Lined seahorse

This biofluorescent seahorse was spotted earlier this year during an expedition led by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History. The seahorse is one of 180 species that we've recently learned can glow in the dark.

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Japanese firefly squid

Every year, between March and June, these cephalopods gather by the thousands in Japan's Toyama Bay, lighting up the night en masse.

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Lanternfish

The reason for this fish's name is pretty obvious. Depending on the species, the photophores on the lanternfish may emit weak blue, green or yellow light. Males also may have different light patterns different than females.

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Scaleless black dragonfish

This fish is tiny (less than five inches long) but it's as deadly as it looks here. It uses a bright, dangling lure to attract prey to its vicious teeth.

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Fungus gnats

Hanging from a New Zealand cave roof, you'll find these sticky silk threads of bioluminescent glow worm larvae of fungus gnat. The larvae feed on the light-attracted insects that get entangled in the threads.

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Bioluminescent eel

Plenty of eels can get their glow on, too.

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