the deep


One of the major discoveries is that the depths are full of lights. There is no light from the surface, so creatures make their own. As many as 80-90 per cent of the animals collected in nets are bioluminescent – like fireflies. In fact, ‘In the ocean bioluminescence is the rule rather than the exception’, writes a scientist contributor. Deep-sea animals light themselves up to locate scarce food, to attract prey (like moths to a flame), to confuse predators and to signal to potential mates. The most spectacular light shows in the ocean are like burglar alarms, aiming to scare off a predator by attracting the attention of a larger predator. The vampire squid, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, a red (as hell) animal much featured in the book (and dubbed the unofficial mascot of the deep by one biologist), defends itself by spitting viscous bioluminescent clouds from the ends of its arms, which can glow for up to ten minutes while the squid makes its getaway.

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