Under the right light, these jellies radiate a bright green glow. Scientists aren’t sure what makes them fluoresce in the wild–one guess is the light from a full moon!

Learn more about elegant jellies

While on a summer study abroad trip to Costa Rica, my class was staying at  Hacienda Baru, an eco-tourist lodge about an hour from the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. One night, I joined a couple of my lab mates and our trip guides, Marcos and Robert, on a night hike of the beach to look and see if we could find signs of sea turtles or their nests.

Some of us had come with flashlights to make sure that we wouldn’t trip over anything on the beach sand. Imagine my surprise when one of our guides, Robert, told us to turn off our flashlights. When I finally turned mine off, I saw that it was so that we could see the micro-organisms in the sand that glowed whenever we stepped on the sand/made a footprint.

The light from the flashlight, no matter the intensity or direction, made it a lot harder to see the flashes of bio-luminescence that these micro-organisms were giving off. As much as I wanted to keep my flashlight on, it was another thing to experience something we had never seen before. 

We never did get to see any turtles or find any turtle nests, but I learned that sometimes it takes some discomfort to a certain level, to experience what nature has to offer. Whether that discomfort was just a turned off flashlight, or a journey down to the Rio Negro, spent half tripping over the forest floor. I’ll never forget some of the things that I experienced during my time spent in Costa Rica.

Anecdote aside, this is really very pretty 🙂


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