Behind the Armor
Fun Facts

We chose the organism Pyrocystis fusiformis randomly, to be honest... But we are sure glad we did!

Pyrocystis fusiformis is an interesting organism because it is relatively unheard of, yet plays an important part in the world's atmospheric oxygen concentration, as well as having a vital place in the marine food web.

 Bioluminescence in ocean. Image used with Permission, 2013. Image located at

Other Fun Facts:

-QwickLite is made by Pyrocystis fusiformis (Miller 2010).

-Pyrocystis fusiformis is a unique organism that actually changes its morphology depending on the circadian cycle and whether it is day or night. This is how this organism manages to be so effective at feeding and reproducing!

-This organism's homotypic synonyms are Dissodinium fusiforme by (Wyville-Thomson ex Murray) Matzenauer and Murracystis fusiformis by (C.W.Thomson) Haeckel in 1890 (Guiry and Guiry 2013).

-It is a mixotroph (can act as autotroph or heterotroph).

 -It can perform bioluminescence.

 -Its behavior is regulated by light.

-When in the presence of predators, it performs bioluminescence. Seems opposite, right? It does this in the hope that its predators will be eaten by other organisms attracted to the light. This kind of seems like, "If I'm going down, you're going down with me!"

Image created by Danielle Schiro 2013."Did you know...  That I am AWESOME!"
        -Pyrocystis fusiformis



To continue your discovery of various organisms, you can visit other webpages created by Organismal Biology students at

To visit UW-La Crosse's website, click here.