Animals

The Hawksbill Sea Turtle Is The First Known Biofluorescent Reptile

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Before 2015, no one knew biofluorescent reptiles existed in nature. But while filming for National Geographic off the Solomon Islands, explorer David Gruber came across a glowing sea turtle. He described what he saw as a "bright red-and-green spaceship," but it was actually the hawksbill sea turtle. This marks the first time biofluorescence has been observed in reptiles. Biofluorescence in creatures means that light is reflected off of them, versus bioluminescence, which is when a chemical reaction inside a creature makes it glow. The fact that the hawksbill sea turtle emits both red and green light is unusual, as it has only previously been observed in coral. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.

Advertisement