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In the warm, shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean
lives a squid with a lifelong symbiotic devotion.
A vital relationship that begins the day they hatch,
survival tied to one type of bacteria they catch.
This tiny squid must camouflage itself to hunt at night.
The bacteria are chosen because they give off light.
These microbes, that glow through a chemical mechanism,
are fed by the squid, so it’s really mutualism.
In this story the Hawaiian bobtail squid is the host,
and Vibrio fischeri is its guest with the most.
Why would this night hunter want to be illuminated?
So that their tiny shadow can be eliminated.
The squid blends seamlessly under the shimmering moonlight
by controlling their luminous output from dim to bright.
This fantastic exchange, enhancing both species fortune,
takes place in a void, within the squid, called the light organ.
Bacteria are sent to the light organ through a pore.
The squid hatch with appendages that assist with this chore.
Just hours after birth, the squid start producing mucus,
this attracts microbes, but fischeri is its focus.
The fischeri migrate to the light organ’s middle,
where their presence is made known through a chemical signal.
The squid’s pores will close in reaction to these messages,
and start to wither cells of their extra appendages.