pho·​to·​phore | \ ˈfō-tə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce photophore (audio) \

Definition of photophore

: 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

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, "Living Fireworks, These Animals Produce Light Shows with Their Bodies," 30 June 2018 Some species like the Leidys comb jelly have photophores inside the bell, or main body, Burgess says. National Geographic, "Living Fireworks, These Animals Produce Light Shows with Their Bodies," 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, "How Deep-Sea Fish Are So Exceptionally Black," 18 Apr. 2018 On their bodies, viper dogfish have little cells that produce light called photophores. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "'Alien'-Like Sharks With Extendable Jaws Pulled From Deep Sea," 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, "Bats, Jellyfish, and Other Animals With Daily Commutes," 17 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'photophore.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of photophore

1898, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for photophore

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about photophore

Statistics for photophore

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for photophore

The first known use of photophore was in 1898

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on photophore Encyclopedia article about photophore

Comments on photophore

What made you want to look up photophore? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!