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A photophore is a light-emitting organ which appears as luminous spots on various marine animals, including fishes and cephalopods. The organ can be simple, or as complex as the human eye; equipped with lenses, shutters, color filters and reflectors [1]. The light can be produced from compounds during the digestion of prey, from specialized mitochondrial cells in the organism, called photocytes ("light producing" cells) , or, similarly, associated with symbiotic bacteria in the organism that is cultured.

The character of photophores is important in the identification of benthic fishes.

Photophores on fish are mainly used for attracting food or confusing predators.

Photophores are also on some Cephalopods, most notably the Firefly Squid (also known as the Sparkling Enope Squid) which can create large light displays.

In medicine, the photophore is an instrument (a type of endoscope) used to observe internal organs and tissues.

Compare: chemoluminescence, bioluminescence, biophoton


  1. Photo, diagram and description of a cephalopod photophore
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Photophore". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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