Microbial Advent Calendar 2k18 – Vibrio fisheri, a squid’s light

By December 2, 2018 Fun

Time to start this year’s MicrobialAdventCalendar! So for the next (hopefully) 24 days I’ll post here and, on my blog, an illustration of a host associated microbe with some links to cool stories and twitter folks working on them. I’ll make them short and to the point in order to manage to do all of them!

We start with Vibrio fisherii, without those guys the cute bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes wouldn’t be able to mimic the moon reflections in the shallow waters where it hunts at night. This counter-illumination is due to the bacteria that emit fluorescence.

The bacteria colonizes, the appropriately named, light organs, which are epithelia lined crypts or cavities. Perhaps one of the most fascinating facts about this symbiosis is that when dawn comes and the squids go back to burrow themselves in the sand, they turn off the luminescence by expelling most of the bacteria from the light organs. During the day the remaining bacteria in the crypts multiply until they reach a critical population size which induces the bioluminescence through quorum sensing.

If you want more information you can check the very detailed “Developmental biology interactive” page on the symbiosis, it has a lot of info and links to relevant literature!

Check out Sarah McAnulty’s website and twitter, she has a truck load of squid related facts, pictures and videos. Plus she’s doing a 25 days of Squidmass…

Seriously, how ridiculously cute is this bobtail squid?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.