In this week’s featured video, we are treated to the very first footage of a biofluorescencent reptile. And, yes, it’s incredible.

Like a “UFO”

No, it’s not another “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot. It’s a groundbreaking discovery in the emerging science concerning biofluorescent marine life. Earlier this week, video was released of a group of scientific divers finding a biofluorescent hawksbill sea turtle – the first of its kind.

The “glowing” turtle was discovered in the Solomon Islands by marine biologist, David Gruber from City University of New York. According to Gruber, his team was on a night dive photographing corals when the sea turtle appeared like a “bright red and green spaceship.”


Biofluorescence occurs when an animal is able to absorb light then transform and emit that light as a different color; often red, green or yellow. This is typically used for locating prey, for defense or communication. In the video, you can see bright reds, greens and yellows burst from the turtle’s shell.


Easily confused with bioluminescence – which is caused by special light-emitting cells within an organism that start a chemical reaction – the study of biofluorescents in marine life is still relatively new.

In fact, scientists have only been researching the phenomenon for the past 10 years or so. While eels, corals, sharks, rays and other fish have all been found to display biofluorescence, this discovery marks the first time a reptile has been seen to have this unique ability.

This new discovery brings up the question of how sea turtles are utilizing biofluorescence.