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.

Some Pictures

close up of multiple sea sparkles

A whole coastline glowing because of all the sea sparkles



Bioluminescence [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from‌images/‌thumb/‌8/‌86/‌Bioluminescence.jpg/‌200px-Bioluminescence.jpg

C, A. (n.d.). Bioluminescence in the Living World. Retrieved November 29, 2011, from HubPages website:‌hub/‌Bioluminescence-in-the-Living-World

Noctiluca Scintillans. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2011, from Oceana website:‌en/‌explore/‌marine-wildlife/‌noctiluca-scintillans

Noctiluca Scintillans Varias [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from‌wikipedia/‌commons/‌5/‌53/‌Noctiluca_scintillans_varias.jpg


3 thoughts on “Bioluminescence

  1. evynkeating says:

    Your explanation of the Sea Sparkle was very informative and interesting! I never knew that they were referred to with that term. Your pictures are very nice, but did you know that most bioluminescent glows are impossible to capture in a photo?

  2. philipcaffry says:

    I like that picture of a whole cosatline full of them it is pretty cool how much they glow.

  3. noahhuizenga says:

    It’s good that you specified what the flagella were used for. I also liked the pictures.

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