Animals that glow are all around us. This week we are taking an in-depth look at Glow-in-The-Dark Zebrafish aka Zebra Danios (Brachydanio rerio) aka Glofish. Their name is typically incorrectly spelled as glowfish, while the correct spelling is actually glofish. What makes Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish even more fascinating is they do glow, but only when they encounter environmental toxins!
Bioluminescence AKA Glow-In-The-Dark
National Geographic defines bioluminescence “as the light that occurs from the reaction between two chemicals within a living organism: the compound luciferin and either luciferase or photoprotein. The ability to produce light is not just a flashy feature; bioluminescence can give the animal a competitive advantage. For example, deep-sea vampire squids eject glowing mucus to startle predators, and hatchet fish use light-producing organs to adjust reflections off their bodies, masking themselves to prey who are hunting them from below”.
The Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish Difference
The difference between the squids or other animals that Glow-In-The-Dark in nature and the Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish Glofish is that the Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish only glows because of man-made genetic modification! Yep, you are reading right! This is genetic adjustment is achieved by adding a fluorescence gene from a sea coral to Zebra Fish Danio eggs to produce glofish (Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish). This gene is the only reason why the genetically modified fish glow and also why it only occurs in the presence of environmental toxins.
Apart from this genetic modification, the Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish (Glofish) are just like the regular Zebra Danios; Normally Zebra Danios are gold and silver striped or gold and blue striped, and when both types are together they do well in a community fish tank. Together they co-exist with no comprehension of the genetic differences separating them!
Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish Reproduction
Researchers also show that Glofish are just as healthy as regular Zebra Danios and their care is identical. They are one of the easiest egg laying fish to breed in the aquarium, and Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish are no different. Because they are genetically modified, glowfish that spawn in the aquarium will also carry the Glow-In-The-Dark genes. Interestingly while it is possible to tell the difference between females and males in regular Zebra Danios due to coloration, there is no specific way around to determine the sex of glofish.
If you are interested in Glow-In-The-Dark creatures and want the opportunity to have them around all the time – Glow-In-The-Dark Zebrafish are probably the best way to go! Not only are they easy to raise – even as fish are concerned, but they are cost effective on almost any budget!
Check out other Glow-In-The-Dark products or learn about why things glow below!