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Phosphorescence in Fish

Nature volume 6, page 456 | Download Citation



WHILE off the Land's End, Cornwall, or between the “Wolf Rock” and “Longships” Lighthouses, in the screw steam-ship Cumbrae (ex Plymouth for Belfast and Glasgow), on the night of Thursday, August 27, my attention was directed to one of the most beautiful marine phenomena that could well be imagined. At some distance ahead of the vessel the sea appeared quite luminous over large portions of its surface. This luminosity, observed at intervals, on a nearer approach proved to be nothing more nor less than the phosphorescence of immense shoals of fish—mackerel or pilchards, probably both—which could be distinctly seen near the surface; they of course appeared somewhat large, owing to the light which they emitted.

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