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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Secret of the Glowing Snail
14 December 2010 7:01 pm
Talk about an inner glow. The marine snail, Hinea brasiliana, radiates green light to startle predators, so the snail can make a quick—or at least relatively quick—get away. But there's a mystery to this bioluminescence: The snail's body sports just a handful of glowing cells, yet its entire shell lights up. To shed light on the puzzle, researchers shed some light on the snails. They focused a tight beam of light through the shell's opening, mimicking the light emitted from the animal's cells, and found that the entire snail lit up. The trick appears to be that the mollusk's shell scatters light. This allows the snail to turn a tiny glow into a much larger one, making it seem more formidable to predators. Understanding how the shell's internal structure produces this luminosity could inspire lighting designs of the future, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
See more ScienceShots.