Have you heard the exciting news? The first biofluorescent reptile was discovered this week! A hawksbill sea turtle! Biofluorescence is a big word meaning the ability for an animal to absorb light and then produce it (show it) as a different color. In addition to the hawksbill sea turtle being the first reptile to show this amazing ability, it is also one of the first animals to emit two radiating colors. The only other animal that can do this is coral.
Speaking of other animals, this bright, glowing talent is found in many including crabs, jelly fish and fishes. The glow the animals radiate helps them survive in the ocean. Some animals use biofloourescence as bait to lure their prey or even as a defense from predators. The red and green neon lights that the sea turtle gives off could help camouflage the turtle among other fluorescent animals. Or it may help males and females find one another to mate. Then again, this discovery is so new many scientists aren’t quite sure why they have it yet.
This particular hawksbill sea turtle was spotted by a diver in the Solomon Islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Their natural range includes the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Though they commonly nest near the Gulf of Mexico and bordering coasts, a few have been reported along the coasts of North and South Carolina. This new and exciting discovery is just another reason to protect this endangered species. For more information on hawksbill sea turtles, click here.
While our hatchlings at the Aquarium are not glowing, they are growing! This week, Turtle A is 145.8 grams and 9.0 cm and Turtle B is 116.4 grams and 7.9 cm. For more information on what to do with those numbers, please check out our lesson: Hatchling to Yearling.