Recently, biologists studying the marine life made a huge discovery: the biofluorescent turtle.
While recording biofluorescence in sharks and coral reefs in Solomon Islands, they encountered a glowing turtle next to them. They were shocked to find out that there exists a biofluorescent reptile in the sea.
On Monday, National Geographic claimed that the recently found turtle, colored in green and red, is the first biofluorescent reptile scientists discovered so far.
Although the sea turtle was filmed in July, the video was made public on Monday. The discovery was made by David Gruber from the City University of New York.
Talking about its look, Gruber stated that the sea turtle resembles an alien spaceship.
“I’ve been studying turtles for a long time and I don’t think anyone’s ever seen this,” said Alexander Gaos, chairman of the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, while enthusiastically talking about the discovery.
Bioluminescence is characterized by the animal’s capability of producing the light either by means of different chemical combinations with other substances or by containing bacteria that produce the light. Biofluorescence, on the other side, is characterized by the animal’s ability of to retain blue light and then to effuse green, red or orange light.
Researchers found this feature in corals, fishes, sharks, but they were taken by surprise to find it in maritime reptile as well.
The marine biologists were able to catch the reptile by using one of the camera’s lights. Soon after that, Gruber released the sea turtle back into the ocean, stating that he didn’t want to torment the animal.
This discovery made Gruber become impatient with respect to other questions which, for the moment, lack answers. He further wants to discover if these sea turtles are able to see fluorescence, what makes them gain this peculiar ability, how they use it and if other related species have this ability.
Other animals, for example, use this fluorescence in order to entice other organisms or simply to communicate.
Gruber also told National Geographic that it would be pretty difficult to study the sea turtle, as there are only a few left and they are protected by law.
Image Source: Wikimedia