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A Science Fiction trope: when writers think up alien lifeforms, there are several ways to make them cool, but nothing beats making them glow.
- Avatar: Most lifeforms on Pandora, including much of the vegetation, have bioluminescent cells. The Na'vi have them as markings that form lines, which according to the background serve as a means of identification. Most plants, along with small animals, have a lot of bioluminescence, with larger animals and trees having less, although everything seems to have at least some.
- The aliens from The Abyss.
- Justified in Pitch Black due to the Bizarre Alien Biology of the light-sensitive monsters that eat everything else on the planet during every eclipse. The glow-worms end up saving the lives of the survivors.
- The aliens from Monsters.
- The Moorwens from Outlander.
- In Kraken, the Krakenists believe that after they die, they become bioluminescent cells on the body of the squid god.
- In "Dark Life" by Kat Falls people who live on the bottom of the ocean for extended periods of time often develop a bioluminescent shine from eating certain species of fish.
- Wayne Barlowe seems to like this trope, given that he was a creature designer for Avatar and he wrote and illustrated Expedition, the book that Alien Planet was based on.
- Darwin IV: Several of the alien species on the planet.
- The Future Is Wild
- The Most Extreme had the episode "Night Lights", which was all about finding the most extreme bioluminscent creature. The female angler fish won
- During a brief period of unemployment, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory mentions trying to engineer some bioluminescent goldfish (specifically to serve as an energy efficient pet/nightlight). It doesn't really come up again after a throw-away gag at the end of the episode, but he was successful in creating at least one.
- In the Tracker pilot, Mel catches a glimpse of Cole glowing,something connected to his Cirronian nature and whatever he was doing in the bedroom at the time. (not *that*!)
- Usually in any dungeon crawl situation, there are caves that have bioluminescent moss or lichen growing on the walls/floors.
- The hanar race from Mass Effect. They communicate via patterns of bioluminescence.
- As do the Underlost from Septerra Core. That said, most of Shell 7 is covered with bioluminescent plants/fungi, serving as the primary source of light IN that layer.
- The Macalania Woods in Final Fantasy X.
- Definitely noticeable in Star Fox Adventures, which is arguably similar to Avatar in its visuals.
- The Slylandro in Star Control II
- Zangarmarsh and Vashj'ir in World of Warcraft
- The Forest, and the creatures who live there in Crea Vures. Interestingly, the bioluminescence on the eponymous CreaVures also serves as a representation of your health (with it fading for a while if you're hit), and sometimes as an indication as to whether an aggressive animal is cowering or not (with theirs fading for a bit).
- Everything in the Deluded Depths. Even Alice's dress has an angler and glowing dots and stripes.
- Glowing Fungus in Fallout: New Vegas in multiple colours. Some are edible.
- In Terraria, you can find Blinkroot hidden underground, which does exactly what you'd think it does: Blinks. (Though only when it's blooming.) Also to be noted are tall Glowing Mushrooms, also found underground, and better for healing and potion-making than surface 'shrooms.
- in Bionicle: The Mask of Light, Takua gets distracted by some glowing coral-like structures. He immediately puts them on his head and starts hopping around like a flourescent bunny rabbit.
- The protein Luciferase and its relatives are the cause of natural bioluminescence, for example in fireflies. It has been put into other creatures to create glowing bacteria, etc.
- Ravers and CyberGoths have a liking for glowsticks and clothes that imitate bioluminiscence. While it's definitely running off the Rule of Cool, there's also a functional reason behind it: Supposedly, the glow from these sources have a soothing effect on the mind, reducing the chances for a Bad Trip. Considering that these subcultures have a particular leaning towards psychedelic substances ...
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