• By: Keith Whittier

Almost Science Fiction: Creatures of Light Makes Canadian Debut at the Canadian Museum of Nature


Glowing mushrooms, jellyfish, plankton and even scorpions are all among the new Canadian Museum of Nature’s (CMN) exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence.

Open from May 3 to November 9, this exhibition includes a wide array of creatures and organisms that use bioluminescence for difference reasons.

Highlighting the exhibit (no pun) are the live flashlight fish that use bacterial light as a means of communication and camouflage. Other replica creatures on display include the female anglerfish, which uses its pulsating bacterial light on the tip of its dorsal fin spine to lure pray.

02. Bitter oyster mushroom_JS

Back on land, other displays include: The honey mushroom that glows to attract bugs to spread its spores, the glowworm that uses its glowing tail to trap mosquitos and fruit flies, and the firefly (which is actually a beetle and not a fly), that uses its glowing tail to attract a mate.

Visitors can walk through realistic replicated environments from a tranquil meadow filled with fireflies, to the alien Waitomo cave in New Zealand, filled with bizarre luminescent underwater life.

“The one word that describes this exhibit is ‘magical’,” said CMN Marine Biologist Dr. Cathleen Conlan. “The journey through this magical world is a place where most of us will never be able to go.”

Making its Canadian debut, Creatures of Light was produced by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with CMN and the Field Museum of Chicago.

Unique to the CMN exhibition will be four CMN scientists on hand to field questions, as well as five different areas (outside the exhibit) for visitors to experience “glow moments”. Among these mini exhibits are, a black light booth that reveals which house hold objects and products glow in the dark, an exhibit with live glow-in-the-dark scorpions, and a “glow-in-the-forest” kids play area.

14. Scorpions_DF

Revealed in time for the summer tourism season, CMN has high hopes for the new exhibit. “Based on what we know right now, we anticipate that [Creatures of Light] will be the most significant museum attraction for visitors of the national capital region this year,” says Meg Beckel, CMN President and CEO.

For more information about Creatures of Light visit: http://www.nature.ca