Publication:

Animal Scene - 2021-09-01

Data:

STEP BY STEP

ANIMAL APPEAL

After the encounter with the Cowrie Shells, I noticed something strange as we took steps on the sand in ankle-deep waters. I thought my eyes were just tired because I thought I saw a dim eerie glow in the water. It was so faint that it was very hard to notice and it made one doubt if it was a glow or a reflection. Then, a sudden realization hit me and a long lost memory resurfaced. It was a faint memory from my elementary years. It felt more like a dream than a memory, but I could remember walking in the sand one night, and my footsteps were glowing! I was so small then that I did not know what to make of it. Armed with this memory, I realized what I must do. I had to get out of the water, so I led my pamangkins to the waterline where the small waves brushed gently against the sand. It was here where the glowing light became very clear. It was exactly like stars embedded on the sand instead of the sky. It seemed like we had run into sand saturated with glowing planktons. The kids were really awestruck! Those planktons were called bioluminescent Dinoflagellates. They glowed when they were disturbed, or in this case, when stepped on. The curious little buggers were literally illuminating our footsteps! I saw an episode on Discovery Channel about these things. On the show, the planktons are resting on the sea floor. The narrator said that the “light on impact” is their defense mechanism, because the shrimp that eats them become illuminated and become the target of predators. Thus, the shrimp will be dealt with quickly and could no longer eat more plankton. The long name given to these guys is a fun tongue twister as well. In fact, I almost titled this story ABDCE (Ang bioluminescent Dinoflagellates at Cephalopods ng El Nido). I realized then that it was time to head back towards the hotel.

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