The first know biofluorescent reptile was discovered by accident. David Gruber, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, spotted the hawksbill sea turtle while filming coral off the Solomon Islands. Biofluorescence – the ability to reflect blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color – has been observed in coral, and some fish, sharks, and rays. But this turtle is the the first biofluorescent reptile ever recorded.
Biofluorescence, by the way, is different from bioluminescence. Bioluminescent animals produce their own light, either via chemical reactions or host bacteria that give off light.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.