Bioluminescence is primarily a marine phenomenon––with 80% of metazoan bioluminescent genera occurring in the world’s oceans. Evolutionary is a remarkable process and “an event” can be initiated multiple times. For example, in Africa some of the early hominid species or sublines appear to have “popped into existence” independently of one another, per innumerable anthropology findings. “Eyes“, or the ability to sense light from darkness as well as highly evolved forms of eyes, have evolved independently between 40 and 65 times.
In the attached article, authors show that bioluminescence has evolved repeatedly and is phylogenetically widespread across ray-finned fishes. Authors recovered 27 independent evolutionary events of bioluminescence––all among marine fish lineages. This finding indicates that bioluminescence has evolved many more times than previously hypothesized across fishes and the tree of life.
Our exploration of the macroevolutionary patterns of bioluminescent lineages indicates that the present day diversity of some inshore and deep-sea bioluminescent fish lineages that use bioluminescence for communication, feeding, and reproduction exhibit exceptional species richness––given their clade age. This article demonstrates that exceptional species richness occurs particularly in deep-sea fishes with intrinsic bioluminescent systems, and both shallow-water and deep-sea lineages with luminescent systems used for communication.
PLoS ONE 2o16; 11: e0155154