No, the acid you took earlier today to make it through Monday isn’t kicking in (unless it is, which in that case, nice). What you are seeing is the first example of biofluorescence in marine reptiles.
Biofluorescence is when an animal or plant takes the light hitting it and reflects back a different color. Like if the sun hit your face and made your teeth glow neon green.
Which they don’t. We also thought that turtle shells didn’t do this. Until today.
The endangered hawksbill sea turtle was filmed giving off an eerie glow by marine biologist David Gruber in the Solomon Islands. Via National Geographic:
It looked like a big spaceship gliding into view, he recalls: An alien craft with a patchwork of neon green and red all over its head and body.
This discovery may change the way we view biofluorescence, which previously had only been noticed in some fish and crustaceans, but never a reptile in the ocean.
This find has opened up a whole universe of questions that Gruber is eager to explore. They include whether these turtles can see the biofluorescence, where they get the ability—do they take in compounds from their food that let them fluoresce, or do they make their own compounds—how they’re using it, and whether other sea turtle species possess a similar ability.