Researchers Discover Hawksbill Sea Turtles Are Biofluorescent

September 28, 2015

Markus Reymann, director for the TBA21 -Academy and Marine Biologist David Gruber, of National Geographic Emerging Explorer were diving in the Solomon Islands when they came across a biofluorescent Hawksbill sea turtle. Gruber says he was taking pictures of some biofluorescent corals when, 40 minutes into the dive, a turtle came underneath his camera. He described it as a bright red and green space ship at first because for a second he had no idea what it was. 

“I was filming coral and it came in front of my lens,” Gruber said. “and it hung out with us for like five minutes.” The turtle then left and dove deeper. Gruber says that the footage shows that hawksbill sea turtles are biofluorescent and it opens up even more questions with regard to why the turtles are biofluorescent. “How are they using this? Are they using this to find each other ? Or are they using it to attract each other,?” Gruber asks in the video showing the turtle, which is an endangered species

Gruber previously said that only corals were known to have two biofluorescent colors, and other animals such as eels and gobies just had a single color. The hawksbill is yet another animal that sports two biofluorescent colors, and until they get one to study, it will remain a mystery as to why the sea turtle is biofluorescent. 

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