Glowing Sea Turtle is First Known Biofluorescent Reptile

Posted on September 29, 2015

Scientists have discovered that the hawksbill sea turtle has a shell and body that glows neon green and red. This makes the turtle the first known biofluorescent reptile. The glowing turtle was spotted by scientists near the Solomon Islands.

The discovery was reported in National Geographic. Marine biologist David Gruber from City University of New York led the team that made the discovery during a night dive. He told National Geographic that the sea turtle looked like a "big spaceship gliding into view."

Gruber says that "there came out of nowhere this fluorescent turtle." He followed the turtle for a little while and then let it go. He watched as the turtle dove deep down into the pitch black ocean waters.

Being biofluorescent means the animal can absorb light, transform it and re-emit it as a different color. NatGeo notes it different than bioluminescence, where creatures produce their own glow-in-the-dark colors through chemical reactions or by hosting bioluminescent bacteria.

Alexander Gaos, director of the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, told National Geographic the biofluorescence could provide camouflage for the sea turtle. It could help it blend in on a coral reef.

The amazing hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered specie as io9 points out here. Here is the video footage of the glowing turtle:


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