2018 50c Bioluminescent Life
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate- Forever
Issued: February 22, 2018
First Day City: Fort Pierce, FL
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 40,000,000 stamps
From the deepest depths of the ocean, to jungles, to our own backyards, nature puts on an elaborate light show of bioluminescence. Thousands of lifeforms have this ability to glow, but many use it for different purposes.
Bioluminescence is the creation and emission of light from a living organism. It is most often found in deep-sea creatures – in fact about 76 percent of deep-sea animals produce light. There are also plankton that live on the surface of the water that are bioluminescent and can make the ocean appear to glow at night.
The ways in which creatures utilize their bioluminescence can be as varied as the beings themselves. Some use their mesmerizing lights to attract prey, while others use them to scare off predators. Others, like the atolla jellyfish, flash bright lights to attract their predators’ enemies, earning them the nickname “alarm jellyfish.” Some may also use their light as a way to blend in, as with the cookiecutter shark. This shark’s underside is almost entirely luminescent, matching the color of the ocean around it. A small dark band on its neck resembles a small fish, which attracts prey that the shark then takes a cookiecutter-shaped bite out of. This bite was the inspiration for its name.
Not all bioluminescent life is at the bottom of the ocean. In temperate forests around the world (including the US) mushrooms glow to attract insects to spread their spores. Fireflies can also be found in most parts of the world. Unlike most other creatures, they glow to attract potential mates – and some mimic this glow to attract food. No matter the purpose, bioluminescence is truly nature’s light show.