Clusterwink Snails Use Bioluminescent Shell-Flashing Defense

Posted by on December 15th, 2010

Located off the eastern coast of Australia, the clusterwink snail (Hinea brasiliana) uses a luminescent shell-flashing defense when its shell is tapped or when it detects predators nearby. Scientists think that this could either be a technique for attracting predators of the predator or perhaps a trick to scare them away. Recent experiments have shown that some crabs are frightened away by bioluminescent glowing creatures.

“When threatened, fingernail-sized H. brasiliana generates pulses of bioluminescent light from a single spot on its mushy body. The light pulses are variable, lasting as short as 1/50th of a second to as long as a few seconds. But the opaque shell diffuses only the blue-green color of light it generates — and no other color — like a highly selective frosted light bulb.”


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