Genus: Noctiluca | Dinoflagellate
Species: Noctiluca scintillans
Click on the illustration to enlarge
Description: Large unarmored, round or kidney shaped cells with a striated tentacle, one flagellum and a eukaryotic nucleus. Cytoplasm may contain photosynthetic symbionts and gametes are gymnodinoid. Phagotrophic with food vacuoles containing prey. Chloroplasts absent.
Cell Size: Diameter = 200-2,000um
Distribution: Cosmopolitan, neritic, cold, and warm waters.
Interesting Facts: Bioluminescent except in the NE Pacific. Reported to produce ammonium during large blooms (orange-red), which may be toxic to fish.
Below: A large nocliluca bloom in Monterey Bay, California, May 2011. For more information, click here. Click on the photo to enlarge.