Light Production in the Luminous Fishes Photoblepharon and Anomalops from the Banda Islands

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Science  09 Jul 1971:
Vol. 173, Issue 3992, pp. 143-145
DOI: 10.1126/science.173.3992.143


The unresolved mechanism of light production in Photoblepharon and Anomalops has been reinvestigated in fresh and preserved material. Based on biochemical evidence obtained with emulsions and cell-free extracts of the organs, especially the stimulation of light with reduced flavin mononucleotide, and on electron microscopy of organ sections showing the presence of numerous bacteria, we conclude that the light is produced by symbiotic luminous bacteria. Because of the continuing failure to cultivate the luminous bacteria and because of their morphology, we suggest that the bacteria are of a primitive type called bacteroids.