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Let it shine

Bioluminescent Life stamps dedicated

Edith Widder speaks at stamp ceremony
Edith Widder, chief executive officer of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association, addresses the audience at the Bioluminescent Life stamp dedication ceremony.

The Postal Service dedicated new stamps that celebrate some of the planet’s brightest life-forms Feb. 22 in Fort Pierce, FL.

The 10 Bioluminescent Life stamps feature organisms with the ability to generate light and include various species found on land and underwater. The pane was produced using highly reflective rainbow-colored holographic material.

“These stamps were created so that they reflect back light to mimic the effect of bioluminescence,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Jeffrey Williamson, who led the dedication ceremony at the Sunrise Theatre.

“Much like the magical creatures we’re celebrating today, these stamps are truly dazzling. And starting today, these vibrant images will travel quickly, easily and affordably on letters and packages to millions of households and businesses throughout America — inspiring an even greater appreciation for this vital part of our natural landscape.”

While a rare phenomenon on land, bioluminescence is not uncommon at deep-sea levels, where there is little to no sunlight. Some species are born with bioluminescence, while others, such as certain fishes and squids, have receptacles for displaying bioluminescent bacteria that they capture.

The genes that enable bioluminescence in some life-forms have contributed to medical advances in the fights against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases.

“These are such amazing creatures,” said Edith Widder, chief executive officer of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association and photographer of seven of the images. “It’s thrilling to be able to share these images and help reveal what I think is one of the most entrancing but least known wonders of the natural world — the ability to make light.”

The stamps are available at and Post Offices. The USPS news release has more information.

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