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      The Spectral Distribution of Firefly Light. II

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          Abstract

          The in vivo peak emission wavelengths of bioluminescence are reported for 15 species of American fireflies. A spectrophotometric study of the dorsal light organs of 155 specimens of the Jamaican firefly Pyrophorus plagiophthalamus showed three distinct color distributions with peak emission wavelengths at 550.1 ± 1.5 mµ, 556.8 ± 1.4 mµ, and 562.4 ± 1.0 mµ. Similar spectral measurements of 35 ventral light organs of the same insects gave peak emission wavelengths ranging from 547 through 594 mµ. This is a wider distribution than the total range of all 34 species of firefly studied to date. There was no obvious correlation between the colors of the ventral and dorsal light organs. It appears that P. plagiophthalamus is a special case in which the luciferase enzyme is not only different among members of the same species, but it may be different for the dorsal and ventral light organs in a single individual. A minimum of six different luciferase molecules for P. plagiophthalamus ventral light organs is proposed. The statistical precision in making these spectrophotometric measurements is discussed.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Gen Physiol
          The Journal of General Physiology
          The Rockefeller University Press
          0022-1295
          1540-7748
          1 July 1967
          : 50
          : 6
          : 1681-1692
          Affiliations
          From McCollum-Pratt Institute and the Department of Biology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and the Department of Entomology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
          Article
          10.1085/jgp.50.6.1681
          2225752
          6034763
          b369a17d-9f30-462b-bf95-0127d502c78f
          Copyright © 1967 by The Rockefeller University Press
          History
          : 23 May 1966
          Categories
          Article

          Anatomy & Physiology
          Anatomy & Physiology

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