Why Do These Sharks Glow In The Dark?
(Click to enlarge) Lateral photophores, flank both sides of the lanternshark’s body. (Credit: Jérôme Mallefet /Catholic University of Louvain)
Creatures that dwell hundreds of meters below the ocean’s surface are notoriously strange and alluring, and the lanternshark is no exception. Mysterious fluorescent markings, called lateral photophores, flank both sides of the small, slender shark’s body, glowing vibrantly in waters that are otherwise black.
(From Science / by Hanae Armitage) — Deep-sea researchers have struggled to understand why these markings exist; they don’t lure prey, they’re certainly not helpful for camouflage, and they don’t warn predators to stay away. So what are they for? Finding a mate, according to a new study. The flashy markings help facilitate intraspecific communication, or communication within the same species, researchers report online today in Royal Society Open Science.
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