The Flashy, Fascinating Disco Clam

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Until recently, scientists didn't know how the disco clam produced its flashes, and thought that they might be a type of bioluminescence. In actuality, there are highly reflective silica nanospheres in one side of the clam's fleshy tissue. By rapidly flipping its tissue back and forth, the clam appears to create bright bands of light.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Disco clams have about 40 eyes. 00:41

  2. The reflective side of the disco clam's tissue is full of silica nanospheres. 01:52

  3. Disco clams could potentially acquire their silica by ingesting diatoms. 02:15