New Creature, Biofluorescent Sea Turtle!

A bioluminescent Hawkbill Sea Turtle.

A bioluminescent Hawkbill Sea Turtle.

New Creature, Biofluorescent Sea Turtle!

It is the first of it’s kind: A bioluminescent hawksbill sea turtle from the Solomon Islands has been found by a group of scientists filming sharks and coral reefs.

David Gruber, a marine biologist from City University of New York and National Geographic Explorer, with his team were not out to study sea turtles while on a trip to the Solomon Islands; instead, they were studying sharks and coral reefs. While filming with an underwater camera, the crew captured something remarkable: a hawksbill sea turtle with bioluminescent features (actually deemed biofluorescent), with the glow of the turtle flashing green and red.  Gruber described the turtle as, “an alien spaceship,” when he first saw it swimming in the water and that he thought that, “it was absolutely gorgeous.”

Ocean bioluminescence was first observed in species of jellyfish and coral, notably by Charles Darwin. We have since discovered fish and other sea creatures that also have bioluminescent morphologies. Creatures that typically illuminate can use the light as a warning, to attract food, a form of defense, to communicate, and for mimicry, leading  scientists to wonder why a hawkbill sea turtle would need biofluorescence.

Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in regular light

Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in regular light.

National Geographic has posted a video of this amazing new aspect of the hawksbill sea turtle.

The hawksbill sea turtle is an endangered species and is prone to being severely affected by climate change.  Will this lead to a stronger case of protection for this phenomenal sea creature?

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2 Responses

  1. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150928-sea-turtles-hawksbill-glowing-biofluorescence-coral-reef-ocean-animals-science150928-sea-turtles-hawksbill-glowing-biofluorescence-coral-reef-ocean-animals-science/

    “The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle is the first reptile scientists have seen exhibiting biofluorescence—the ability to reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color. Biofluorescence is different from bioluminescence, in which animals either produce their own light through a series of chemical reactions, or host bacteria that give off light.”

  1. October 1, 2015

    […] It is the first of it’s kind: A bioluminescent hawksbill sea turtle from the Solomon Islands has been found by a group of scientists filming sharks and coral reefs. Read More on Dark Matter News. #DarkMatterNews #ArtBell #MITD #DMTalkhttp://darkmatternews.com/new-creature-bioluminescent-sea-turtle/ […]

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