Probable Functions of Bioluminescence in the Pennatulacea (Cnidaria, Anthozoa)

  • James G. Morin


Within the coelenterates the ability to emit light is widely distributed; most of the major coelenterate taxa contain both luminescent and non-luminescent species (Harvey, 1952; Morin, 1974. Production of light within the luminescent species is biochemically, structurally, and physiologically complex (Harvey, 1952; Nicol, 1960; Herring, 1972; Buck, 1973; Morin, 1974; Morin and Reynolds, 1974; Cormier et al., 1975; Anderson and Case, 1975). The complicated mechanisms responsible for the well-controlled light emission suggest that the light serves some functional role in the life of these organisms. In this paper I discuss the characteristics of the luminescent signal in four pennatulaceans (sea pens) and then consider the ways that the light is potentially employed by these pennatulaceans, and possibly by all luminescent benthic cnidarians.


Conduction Velocity Luminescent Signal Demersal Fish Bioluminescent Signal Sand Bottom 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • James G. Morin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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