An illustration of the Noctiluca scintillans. Noctiluca scintillans, also published as Noctiluca miliaris, is a free-living non-parasitic marine-dwelling species of dinoflagellate that exhibits bioluminescence. The bioluminescent characteristic of N. scintillans is produced by a luciferin-luciferase system located in thousands of spherically shaped organelles, or “microsources", located throughout the cytoplasm of this single-celled protist. Nonluminescent populations within the genus Noctiluca lack these microsources.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed., vol. 7) (New York, NY: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910)