The latest proof of the vast amount that we still do not know about the ocean was shared last week by noted marine biologist David Gruber who revealed through National Geographic that he observed the first recorded bioflourescent reptile in history.
In July, while filming the bioflourescent abilities of corals and sharks in the Solomon Islands off the coast of Australia, Gruber noticed what appeared to be a glowing spaceship come into his view only to realize to his astonishment that it was actually a hawksbill turtle glowing green and red. Biofloursencse has been long-known in other marine animals, including jellyfish and sharks, but Gruber’s sighting was the first known recording of a reptile displaying bioflourescent behavior.
Animals display bioflourescent and/or bioluminescent behaviors for a variety of reasons including communication, defense and predation.
Many animals in both the water (corals, jellyfish, sharks to name a few) and on the land or in the air (butterflies, parrots) have been known to possess bioflourescence, but this is the first time that any reptile has displayed the ability even though some experts have studied the hawksbill sea turtle for years.
After speaking with locals when he returned to land, Gruber learned that many locals kept some younger hawksbill turtles in captivity. Those turtles also exhibited bioflourescence, though Gruber said the captive turtles exhibited only red colors.