'Sea Sapphire' Flashes With Color Then Disappears

The "sea sapphire" is a weird, beautiful little creature. Although the copepod sits at the bottom of the ocean's food chain, the millimeter-long creature can perform a neat little "trick": one minute it's practically invisible, the next it shines with brilliant color. The different species of Sapphirina copepod shine different colors, like blue or gold, and have been seen in the waters of the United States, Africa and elsewhere.

Over at The Conversation, Rebecca Helm describes the first time she saw the elusive creature while catching plankton off the coast of Durban, South Africa. "As I looked through one jar, the boat rocking up and down, I saw a bright blue flash. It lasted for an instant and then it was gone. Then I saw another one in a different place. It was an incredible shade of blue. Maybe I had been in the sun too long? Maybe I was seeing things? It wasn't until I got back to the lab that I discovered the true beauty and mystery of these radiant flashes."