Manialtepec Bioluminescent Lagoon

The Manialtepec Lagoon is located 16 kilometers from Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Is a site of exceptional beauty, surrounded by lush mangrove vegetation. Its name is derived from the náhuatl words manine (animal that drags) and tepetl (place); which is interpreted as “place of lizards”.

At night, the waters of the lagoon shine when they are agitated. Bioluminescence is due to the fact that it is populated by millions of dinoflagellate microorganisms. The light or “brightness” in the water is the result of a chemical reaction between substances present in them which when combined, flash.

When produced, a type of light is generated, which is called bioluminescence. They sparkle when the water is agitated by a boat, with the oars, with the hands, when it rains or simply when swimming.

The lagoon is like a trap in which these populations are concentrated. Around the shore vitamin substances are generated, which are an indispensable requirement for the reproduction and maintenance of the populations of micro-organisms that cause bioluminescence.

Brightness is used as a kind of alarm about the potential presence of potential predators. When ignited, the dinoflagellates indicate the position of its supposed attacker. Microorganisms are set in motion, the light can frighten the predator, and even the smallest can get roasted.

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