Incredible disco clam gives pulsating light show to deter predators
The disco clam is an aptly named creature that appears to be generating electricity in pulsating waves. It gives off the appearance of a light show that is mesmerizing and fascinating to watch. The light comes from thin bands along the outer surface of the clam when it is open. But the truth is that the clam does not generate electricity, and it does not even generate light. This is not an example of bioluminescence. The thin bands are reflective tissue that are merely reflecting the light that is already present. The clam is able to expose and hide the thin band of reflective tissue very quickly. These tissues consist of nano-spheres made of silica. The appearance that this presents is reflection of light, alternating with red tissue in a rapid fashion. To the human eye, or the eye of a predator, this appears to be flashing light or even electricity that warns the predator to stay away and avoid contact. The clam is able to reflect sunlight, or lights from a scuba diver's camera. This is an incredible and unique adaptation that is very effective as a survival tool. Nature provides many creatures of the ocean with the tools to create a defence. The variations of these mechanisms inspire awe and wonder. There are more mysteries in the ocean than we have answers for. We are only beginning to understand the complexity of life under the waves.