Noctiluca scintillans (Sea Sparkle) is a dinoflagellate (a single-celled organism with 2 flagella) that lives near the surface of the ocean and its diet consists mainly of plankton. Although it is single-celled, its cell is quite large compared to other single-celled organisms and usually only one of the two flagella is visible. The flagellum is not used for movement, but rather to feed. It moves food into the mouth and removes waste. It is the most common source of bioluminescence in the ocean. They emit a blue or green light from organelles within the cell (a chemical reaction). It creates it’s own source of light, unlike many other sea-faring bioluminescent creatures which rely on bacteria to produce light for them.
close up of multiple sea sparkles
A whole coastline glowing because of all the sea sparkles
Bioluminescence [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.citizendium.org/images/thumb/8/86/Bioluminescence.jpg/200px-Bioluminescence.jpg
C, A. (n.d.). Bioluminescence in the Living World. Retrieved November 29, 2011, from HubPages website: http://aliciac.hubpages.com/hub/Bioluminescence-in-the-Living-World
Noctiluca Scintillans. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2011, from Oceana website: http://na.oceana.org/en/explore/marine-wildlife/noctiluca-scintillans
Noctiluca Scintillans Varias [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Noctiluca_scintillans_varias.jpg