a peek inside the fishbowl

01 May, 2014

All aglow at the Canadian Museum of Nature

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Fishbowl patrons|Ottawa

One of our favourite places to camp is at an Ontario Parks site called Charleston Lake. We’ve been there five or six times. The beach was great, there were some nice hiking trails, good rock collecting, and the park was very well maintained. One of the things that stands out in my mind is that the park was full of fireflies. The girls were entranced, and rightly so. Fireflies are a truly magical sight; tiny lights hovering and flickering in the darkness. One night a firefly got stuck in our tent, and we all watched it blink and float over our heads as we fell asleep. I’ve never forgotten that.

I was at a media preview yesterday for the Museum of Nature’s new exhibition called Creatures of Night: Nature’s Bioluminescence. Finally, the science behind fireflies is explained, and in a way that is clear, fun, and friendly for budding scientists (myself included)! Of course, this exhibition is about a lot more than fireflies. Another highlight: Flashlight Fish. I’d never heard of them before, have you?

Imagine a fish tank – in the dark – and this is what you see:

Flashlight fish

These are live Spitlin flashlight fish (Anomalops katoptron) on display in the exhibition. In this photograph, they appear as streaks of light. (Photo © Canadian Museum of Nature)

Here’s a closeup:

Flashlight fish

Flashlight fish harbour bioluminescent bacteria in an organ under their eyes and use the light produced by the bacteria to communicate, avoid predators, and to attract prey. (Photo ©FMNH L. Smith and AMNH J. Sparks)

Science is SO cool.

I should mention that the whole exhibition is almost entirely lit with black lights, so wear white and enjoy your own personal glow-in-the-dark experience! For more info about this exhibition, check out this page on the Museum of Nature website.

1 Response to "All aglow at the Canadian Museum of Nature"

1 | Ottawa Giveaway alert! Sunday brunch at the Museum of Nature >> a peek inside the fishbowl

September 26th, 2014 at 2:31 pm


[…] the Museum, which means we can happily burn off our meal in the museum afterwards. (Do check out Creatures of Night if you haven’t already seen it. It ends November […]

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter