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A Flash in the Gut

In 2007 WHOI biologist Laurence Madin led a team of scientists and photographers from the U.S. and the Philippines on an expedition to explore biodiversity in the deep Celebes Sea. The deep ocean is a dark environment where the only light come from bioluminescent animals, those that produce light that may help them find mates or lure food. But what if a transparent animal eats a luminescent animal that then flashes in the predator’s stomach? Would that advertise its whereabouts to larger hungry animals? Scientists believe that many deep-sea animals, like this jellyfish, have red pigment around their stomachs to keep their prey’s light from escaping.
(Photo by Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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