I use the word “suits” loosely as this deck is not divided strictly into different categories. All 64 of the creatures are unique in their contribution and beauty which is the main reason I strayed from dividing them into separate groups. With that said, the three light phenomena that are focused on throughout the deck include bioluminescence, iridescence and bio-fluorescence.
Bioluminescent creatures possess the ability to create their own light. This fascinating phenomenon can be seen in marine organisms including bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish and sharks. It’s also displayed in some gastropods, insects, and fungi. Some light up all on their own, while others have created a symbiotic relationship with bacteria or other creatures that give them the ability to light up.
The most common found bioluminescence is the result of a chemical reaction that takes place in the cells of bioluminescent organisms. Two chemicals exist in the cells of the biological structures that glow – luciferin and luciferase. When a fuel in the cells known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) interacts with these two, and they mix in the presence of oxygen, the resulting chemical reaction gives off energy in the form of light. These resources continuously replenish themselves so they are readily available for the creature at all times.
Why do these creatures light up? To lure prey, attract mates, signal individuals of the same species, mimicry and to camouflage themselves for safety.
The word iridescence originates from Iris, the Greek goddess of rainbows. How appropriate is that? The shimmering colours we see on iridescent surfaces doesn’t actually come from colour pigments, it comes from something called structural colour.
Iridescence is the brilliant effect that occurs when the colour of an object you are looking at changes as the angle of light hitting it changes. As white light interacts with the geometry of the object’s nanoscale environment, its composite wavelengths scatter, diffract and interfere with each other creating a dazzling display. Soap bubbles, feathers and dragonfly wings are some examples.
Approximately one third of this oracle deck is devoted to creatures who are naturally engineered to display iridescence for survival
and reproduction purposes.
While bioluminescence and iridescence are obvious, the trait of bio-fluorescence first appeared as a pleasant surprise. It can only be seen by our limited human eyes when illuminated by ultraviolet light.
For many years, we thought bio-fluorescence was reserved for marine creatures such as coral, located in the shallower zones. The existence of this phenomenon in land creatures came as a huge surprise. While shining ultraviolet light in the forest for other purposes, animals started to light up. The flying squirrel is the perfect example of this. It glows pink under ultraviolet light. This was quite the shocker and set a lot of scientists in motion to test other species in the animal kingdom.
While bioluminescence is the result of a chemical reaction, bio-fluorescence is not. It involves a transformation of light. Energy (excitation light) is absorbed into the tissues on these creatures and is emitted with a longer wavelength nanoseconds later. Using simple terms, the organism absorbs light, transforms it and then emits it as a different colour. Fluorescent light is only visible in the presence of the stimulating light.