The Firefly Squid

The Firefly Squid - Blinded by the Light: A Scientific Look...

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Blinded by the Light: A Scientific Look at the Firefly Squid, Watasenia Scintillans Amelia Frey Professor Tydell Biology 103 28 April, 2008
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Frey 2 In the deep waters of the northern Pacific Ocean lives a very small, incandescent squid that has, for many years, provided yearly entertainment as well as much sought-after taste of delicacy for the Japanese people of Toyama Bay. The Firefly Squid is known for its large display of blue-light each spring when millions of individual squid come to the surface to lay their eggs. The scene marvelous showing brings visitors from around the world, many of whom are scientists in search of the answer to the mystery of the intense light produced by such a small organism. Only a select few have captured and sustained the organism long enough to study its bioluminescence, leading only to theories behind the mystery of their glow and the claims of their color vision. These theories will be presented with information on the species, then analyzed according to the gathered research. The Firefly Squid, or Sparkling Enope Squid, is part of the kingdom Animalia, phylum Mollusca, class Cephalopoda, order Teuthida, family Enoploteuthidae, genus watasenia, and species scintillans. It is the only species within the watasenia genus. Its scientific name, watasenia scintillans , has two origins. The genus Watasenia is named for Dr. Shozaburo Watase, who was a well-known Japanese scientist. Scintillans comes from the Latin word for ‘spark,’ referring to the organism’s ability to bioluminesce. The class Cephalopoda is regarded as the most intelligent of invertebrates because of their large brains and complex nervous system. Cephalopods are the only mollusks with a closed circulatory system, and they move by jet propulsion—that is, taking in water and expelling opposite the direction they are moving. This is fairly energy-inefficient, and thus is much less common among larger organisms because it becomes it dispenses too much energy once the organism reaches a certain size. Cephalopods also have skin cells called chromatophores that change color and are used for camouflage, showing that the firefly squid does not use its
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Frey 3 bioluminescence for protection from predators. Chromatophores are used to change brightness and pattern. All 298 species of squid (order teuthida) are distinguished by their distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, eight arms, and two longer tentacles. The main body mass of the order is enclosed in the mantle, oppositely from most other living creatures. Squid are also strange in the regards to their size, which can range anywhere from 2.2 centimeters to 18 meters, meaning the largest species is nearly eight-hundred times larger than its smallest cousin. The anatomy of the order teuthida is also very different from most other organisms.
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The Firefly Squid - Blinded by the Light: A Scientific Look...

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