A photograph of a Tomopterid captured by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute senior scientist/marine biologist Steve Haddock will be featured on a new US postage stamp that belongs to the Bioluminescent Life stamps series. The worm which is abundantly found was collected with one of MBARI’s remotely operated underwater vehicles in the Monterey Canyon. These transparent worms are sometimes very difficult to find. The worm shown in the photograph was almost 2 inches long and they sometimes grow up to one foot. Unlike other marine organisms which have blue or green bioluminescence, the tomopterid has a unique yellow bioluminescence and emits gold and yellow light.
Haddock hopes that the new postage stamps will educate people about deep-sea life and creatures that emit their own light. Experts believe that these animals are not only interesting but are useful for humans as well. The bioluminescent chemicals that these marine animals carry are used in biochemistry and in medicine. Experts have found out that these chemicals are unlike other known light-emitting chemicals.
The creatures depicted on these stamps include a deep-ocean octopus, a deep-sea comb jelly, and a firefly.
Image Courtesy USPS.