Miracle Glow

For the first time ever, scientists found biofluorescence in a sea turtle.

October 02, 2015

In recent years scientists have realized that biofluorescent sea creatures—which absorb blue light and reemit it as red, green, or orange—are a lot more common than once thought. Coral, jellyfish, eels, and more than 180 species of fish have all been observed acting like underwater Lite Brites. But this summer, researchers found biofluorescence somewhere totally unexpected: in a reptile.

Marine biologist David Gruber was filming glowing corals off the Solomon Islands in July when a “bright red-and-green spaceship” swam into view. It turned out to be a curious hawksbill sea turtle.  

Scientists are still in the dark about what function biofluorescence has for turtles, but the discovery makes the need to conserve marine ecosystems clearer than ever. Hawksbills are critically endangered…let’s not let their lights go out.

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