pho·​to·​phore ˈfō-tə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce photophore (audio)
: a light-emitting organ
especially : one of the luminous spots on various marine mostly deep-sea fishes

Examples of photophore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Though the undersea sighting may resolve the question of how the photophore works, other researchers wondered how the ram’s horn was able to hover vertically in the water column with the buoyant part of its body underneath it. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2020 Then there’s the world’s smallest shark, the six-inch lanternshark, which advertises its own goods via photophores (or light-producing organs) clustered around its reproductive organs. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 2 May 2019 Researchers noticed a few differences between the two fish, including fewer vertebrae and numerous light-producing photophores that cover most of the body, the report says. Ricky Pinela,, 19 July 2019 George Burgess of the Florida Museum of Natural History, who described both species, says their photophores, light-producing organs, are mainly located around their reproductive organs. National Geographic, 30 June 2018 Some species like the Leidys comb jelly have photophores inside the bell, or main body, Burgess says. National Geographic, 30 June 2018 Maybe the threadfin dragonfish, with its winning smile and luminous purple photophore, will unlock the next big technological innovation. Sonke Johnsen, National Geographic, 18 Apr. 2018 On their bodies, viper dogfish have little cells that produce light called photophores. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, 11 Jan. 2018 That's why bioluminescent creatures, including krill, squid, lanternfish, and dragonfish, create their own light chemically through organs called photophores. National Geographic, 17 June 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'photophore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of photophore was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near photophore

Cite this Entry

“Photophore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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