Davis, M.P., Sparks, J.S., and Smith, W.L. 2016. PLOS ONE. 11:e0155154.
Most people may be familiar with bioluminescence — the production of light from a living organism — in fireflies, but the phenomenon can be found throughout the ocean, including in fishes. We analyzed nuclear and mitochondrial genes from over 300 fish species to infer the number of independent evolutionary origins of bioluminescence and investigate diversification in these lineages. Although this work focused on ray-finned fishes, our results suggest that bioluminescence has evolved independently 27 times in 14 major fish groups. Further, we found that fishes evolved the ability to bioluminescence in the Early Cretaceous, some 150 million years ago.
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