What is Bio-luminescence?

Firefly in the night

Image Credit: Flickr User slgckgc, via CC

Long time ago there was a little girl who was curious to go visit the glowing forest, but her mom told her not to go to that weird place. One day she decided to check it out on her own.

She went there to see if there were any pixies or gnomes, but there were none. She roamed around for a while only to realize she she had lost her way. She tried to find her way back home, but it was getting dark.  So she sat under a tree and fell asleep. When she woke up the whole forest was glowing and shining. Did some magical fairy do this while she was asleep, she thought to herself?

Now we have all heard some fantastic stories of pixies, elves and fairies glowing at night – that they had magical wings or glowing ears. But do you think that is magic or there is some natural phenomenon behind? Well, here is the explanation. The phenomenon is called Bio-luminescence – and it gives some living beings the ability to give out light.

There is an algae called Noctiluca scintillans ( Sparkling Night-light ) that makes the tropical seas shine in the night.

The phyto-planktons in the Caribbean sea just light up the sea shore. They can’t move on their own so they produce light when they get stirred.

Most of the deep sea fishes produce their own light. Now its easy for you to guess why!

A bio-luminescent moss slips into cracks and gives out a green light when it sprouts and grows. Remember dazzling rocks of the pixie forests from the stories?


Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons, via CC

Sometimes rotting wood also starts shining in summer and fall because of a type of fungi growing on it. And maybe that would explain the shiny fairy-dust on trees that make them glow — it is actually a moss!

A lot many times underground luminescent plants have guided the way for miners by giving off light. And in any field on a moonlit summer’s night, we can see the luminous wings of fireflies!

Read a fantastic story about a girl named Hazel, who went into the Sea of fire.

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