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Although there are hundreds of types of luminous animals in the sea, there are surprisingly few basic luciferins (light emitters) which have been found in across many species. In some cases this conservation can be explained by animals acquiring luciferin through the food chain, but in other cases organisms have been shown to have the ability to synthesize the same chemical on their own.

Below are examples of the major luciferin types which have been examined, as well as the organisms which use that particular system.

Click on molecule to see a more detailed view of that system.

  | For a text version of this table, select the link below.[ A  text-only version of the table ]

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