The secretions of some earthworms distract predators using bioluminescence.
"Dozens of earthworm species from all over the world can secrete a glowing slime, thought to startle predators. This particular worm, Diplocardia longa, is found in sandy soils in southern Georgia in the U.S. and can stretch to over half a meter in length…It turns out that chloragocytes—the cells in earthworms that produce the bioluminescent ooze are part of a system that sequesters toxins in the earthworm's body, much like a liver." (Hadhazy 2009)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
Hadhazy A. 2009. Shining Examples: 10 Bioluminescent Creatures that Glow in Surprising Ways [Slide Show].
- Rudie NG; Mulkerrin MG; Wampler JE. 1981. Earthworm bioluminescence: characterization of high specific activity Diplocardia longa luciferase and the reaction it catalyzes. Biochemistry. 20(2): 344–350.
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