Nov 18

With the next installment of the popular Twilight series set to hit the silver screen today, there is really only one question on everyone’s mind … are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?

While vampires and werewolves are the main characters, there are also plenty of fun and interesting biodiversity facts related to the films that you may not know! How well do you think you know the species of Olympic National Park? What other creatures have the ability to glitter and shine? Read on for some interesting and, we’ll bet, unknown connections between Twilight and the world’s biodiversity!

The Twilight series follows the secret vampire lives of the Cullen family who live near the Olympic National Forest of Washington in the United States. The forest and coastline are also home to a variety of endangered species such as the marbled murrelet; a squat, chubby sea bird with a short neck. You can spot these feathered friends fishing for herring off the Washington coast.

Marbled murrelet photo

The Cullen’s are uneasy neighbors with the native Quileutes tribe, whose teenage boys can shape shift into wolves. In the series, the wolves are described as exceptionally large. Perhaps, the movie producers were inspired by the world’s largest wolf species, the grey wolf, when animating the on-screen canines.

Grey wolf photo

When the vampires of Twilight step into sunshine, their skin glitters and sparkles. Like the vampires, the giant cuttlefish has the ability to make its exterior shimmer. It is extremely adept at camouflage, and this incredible video shows how it can rotate colors and textures across its body.

Giant cuttlefish photo

In the book, the vampires of Twilight are described as predators, luring humans to their demise with their charm and good looks. A few species in the animal kingdom use lures to attract prey as well, and two of our favourites are the alligator snapping turtle and the Mexican cantil.

Alligator snapping turtle photo

This photo shows the extra tissue inside the mouth of the alligator snapping turtle, used to lure fish who mistake it for a worm! All the turtle has to do is sit very still underwater with its mouth wide open and wait patiently for a curious little fish to swim by…

Mexican cantil

Likewise, the Mexican cantil wiggles its bright yellow tail to attract meals of frogs or lizards. In addition to its unique luring strategy, the Mexican cantil is also one of the few snake species that gives birth to live young.

We bet you might not have known about these fun biodiversity facts inspired by the Twilight series. Why not share them with your friends on your way into the theater?

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA