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Strobe Lights By the ‘Disco Clam’ Used to Attract Prey – Study

Ever since the so-called ‘disco clam’ was caught on camera, it’s amazing behavior has left the scientists dumbstruck.

Disco clam 'strobe light' is used to attract prey before paralysing it Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

Disco clam ‘strobe light’ is used to attract prey before paralysing it
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

In the previous year, an expert told that the lips of the clam are packed with ‘mirror ball’ type reflectors which helps to produce the strobe light effect.

The same scientists has now found out that this ‘disco effect’ is a measure made by the predator to attract the prey towards itself, after which the toxic mucus paralyses the prey and the clam feeds on it.

Through the use of high-powered transmission electron microscopy, the scientist discovered that the flashes are the result of specialized tissues which form a double layer that reflects light on one side and absorbs it on the other.

The appearance of flashing lights takes place when the tissue is rapidly unfurled after rolling by the clam.

The nature of tissues is highly reflective, being such that they are capable of flash using even low levels of blue light found in the caves.

They are the sole species of bivalve to have evolved structural coloration of this type, and this research is hell bent on finding out why.

Ms Dougherty along with her colleague started observing the structure and proteins in the clam’s eyes by the use of a powerful microscope.

Through rigorous examination, they found out that the vision of the clan is more likely to be poor for allowing it to observe further displays from its buddies, hence conclusion was made that the flashing of lights was not done as a method to attract a mate.

Many types of planktons are phototaxic and hence rush towards a light source, making the disco lights a perfect trap to catch them.

Ms Dougherty, said: ‘I’ve dived with humpback whales and great white sharks.

‘But when I saw the disco clam, I was enamoured. I said then, “I’m going to do a PhD on the disco clam.”’

Ctenoides ales are mostly found in tropical areas, in groups of two or more.

About Enozia Vakil

Enozia Vakil is an online entrepreneur, writer, editor and an avid reader. She has been associated with some of the best names in both online and print media, and holds a degree in Alternative Medicine.