Corals glow deep (Photo: Prof. J Wiedenmann)

Deep in the sea near Eilat, at the southern tip of Israel, a team of scientists found color—corals glowing an array of green, orange, yellow and red. 

At shallower depths, corals have been known to give off colors, but this is the first time anyone’s found this sort of display this deep in the ocean, starting around 165 feet down. 

The team of scientists who found the coral tested them to see if they’d keep producing the colors even when kept in darkness. And some of them did, showing that their fluorescence is “independent of the exposure to light,” the team wrote in their PLOS ONE paper. 

It’s a little bit of a mystery why they produce these colors. Closer to the surface,  researchers speculate that corals use color as a sunscreen but this deep, very little light penetrates. So why do these corals glow? All we really know right now is that it’s enchanting when they do.

Bonus finds: More mysterious goat headsnew firefly species

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