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A glow squid

Mob Menagerie: Glow Squid

Gleaming in the depths

You might think of Minecraft’s oceans as pretty dark places, but to do so you’ll need to ignore the existence of the sea pickle, the conduit, the sea lantern, and our mob of the month – the surprisingly sparkly Glow Squid 

Glow squids were added to the game in the first part of the Caves & Cliffs update, after beating out the iceologer and the moobloom in the mob vote during Minecraft Live 2020. My heart still beats for you, moobloom. 

You’ll find glow squids in the darkest underwater areas – that means underwater ravines, the deepest parts of the ocean, and in underground lakes. They were originally created for Minecraft Earth, so we’re happy they were able to find a home in Minecraft when Earth was shut down. 

Glow squid generally just jet around the part of the Overworld where they spawned. They ignore other creatures, but they do need water to breathe – if they find themselves out of water then they’ll suffocate. If attacked, they’ll release a cloud of ink and try to swim away. When killed, they drop glow ink sacs which can be used to make signs and item frames glow. 

Here’s a fun fact, glow squid don’t actually produce light. Their bodies appear to glow, and they constantly produce glowing sparkles. But they don’t light up the environment around them. Mojang’s top physicists are currently investigating how this can happen, we’ll report back when we know more.

We’ve already covered bioluminescence in this column – the ability of real-world creatures to produce light. So instead let’s talk about what makes things glow in the dark generally.

Scientifically speaking, something that glows in the dark is “phosphorescing” – it absorbs some kind of energy and then releases it slowly over time in the form of visible light. In the past, glow-in-the-dark toys were often made with zinc sulfide, but today another substance is used – strontium aluminate, which can store and release about ten times more light, allowing the glow to last longer.

Have you noticed that most glow-in-the-dark things glow green? There are two main reasons for this – first, the human eye is particularly sensitive to green light, so green always appears brighter than other colors. The second is that the cheapest and safest phosphorescent chemicals glow green, so it’s a smart choice for companies.

We’re discovering new chemicals and processes all the time through the marvels of nature, so you can bet that mankind's own glow-in-the-dark stuff will become even better in the future – which means even better toys! Good for you to keep in mind if you're wondering what to get for my birthday!

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere
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