from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of various bioluminescent dinoflagellates of the genus Noctiluca that when grouped in large numbers make the sea phosphorescent.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. That which shines at night; -- a fanciful name for phosphorus.
- n. A genus of marine flagellate Infusoria, remarkable for their unusually large size and complex structure, as well as for their phosphorescence. The brilliant diffuse phosphorescence of the sea is often due to myriads of Noctilucæ.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of free-swimming phosphorescent pelagicinfusorialanimalcules, typical of the family Noctilucidæ.
- n. A member of this genus.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. large bioluminescent marine protozoan
Infrared Moonset on Universe Today « luna noctiluca Says:
The fish and other animals that swim in these waters at night aggitate the noctiluca and the waters glow with what look like the ghosts of fish.
There are these little single celled organisms called noctiluca.
Shrimp eat noctiluca, so they evolved the ability, giving away the shrimp's position so that cuttlefish and other predators could catch them.
That pretty sparkler of our summer evenings, so often made the ploughboy's prize, the only brilliant that glitters in the rustic's hat, the glowworm, (_lampyris noctiluca_,) is not found in such numbers with us, as in many other places, where these signal tapers glimmer upon every grassy bank; yet, in some seasons, we have a reasonable sprinkling of them.
It is spontaneous, for example, in the _Pelagia phosphorea_, but not in the allied _Pelagia noctiluca_, a very common form in the
Among the Annelid worms a species of _Nereis_, or sea-centipedes, has earned by its phosphorescent property the specific name of _noctiluca_
Science employs the same term: it calls the lantern-bearer, _Lampyris noctiluca_, LIN.
This property does not belong exclusively to the Medusa noctiluca, which Forskael has described in his Fauna Aegyptiaca, and which Gmelin has applied to the Medusa pelagica of Loefling, notwithstanding its red tentacula, and the brownish tuberosities of its body.
The mauve stingers - or Pelagia noctiluca - are tiny but can cover hundreds of thousands of square miles in a single 'bloom'.