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Microscopic, clam-shaped creature
Another microscopic creature from our desert puddles. One of its relatives played a very interesting role in World War II. What is it?


This amazing creature is an ostracod. It has covering much like the shell of a clam, but inside is a creature much more like a shrimp. Some species of marine ostracods are bioluminescent. If you walk on the beach at night, sometimes you see tiny blue "sparkles" as you disturb the sand. Often, those sparkles are produced by ostracods. During World War II, the Japanese collected bioluminescent osctacods, dried them, and ground them into a powder. If a quick, dim light was required on the battlefield for looking at a map, some of the powder was mixed with water, giving a light much like a modern glow stick.