Fluorescent, Benthic, Pacific Coast Coelenterates


ORANGE fluorescing pigments have been studied extensively in red algae1,2, where the fluorescence becomes apparent in the moribund plant; but such pigments would appear to be rare in the animal kingdom (see Klüver3 for evidence of a red-fluorescing pigment in mammals). At depths greater than 10 m. where sunlight becomes deficient in the longer orange and red wave-lengths, divers have sometimes observed brilliantly luminous orange and red animals. Marden4 noted the phenomenon while photographing a large unidentified anemone in the Red Sea at 20 m., and suggested the animal might have a fluorescent pigment. Our investigations show that certain animals do indeed possess the ability to fluoresce.

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  1. 1

    Lemburg, R., and Legge, J. W., “Hematin Compounds and Bile Pigments” (Interscience, 1949).

  2. 2

    O'hEocha, C., Ph.D. thesis, University of California, 1955.

  3. 3

    Klüver, H., Science, 99, 482 (1944).

  4. 4

    Marden, L., Nat. Geog. Mag., 109, 162 (1956).

  5. 5

    Fox, D. L., and Pantin, C. F. A., Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., B, 230, 415 (1941).

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