Scientists have discovered polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus), the world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina.
The newly discovered amphibian sports a muted palette of greens, reds and yellows under normal light, but in the dark gives off a bright blue and green glow.
What have Scientists discovered?
- Scientists found that the polka dot tree frog uses fluorescent molecules totally unlike those found in other animals. Scientists expect to find red fluorescence in these frogs from a pigment called
- In some insects, proteins bound to biliverdin emit a faint red fluorescence. However, in the polka dot tree frog, biliverdin turned out to be a red herring.
- In ultraviolet flashlight (or black light), polka dot tree frogs gave off an intense greenish-blue glow instead of a faint red. Three molecules hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 were responsible for green fluorescence.
- These molecules contain a ring structure and a chain of hydrocarbons, and are unique among the known fluorescent molecules in animals.
What is Fluorescence?
- Fluorescence is the ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths. It is rare in terrestrial animals.
- Many ocean creatures exhibit fluorescence, including corals, fish, sharks and one species of sea turtle. But, until now, it was unheard of in amphibians.
- On land, fluorescence was previously known in only parrots and some species of scorpions. But it is still unclear why animals have this ability.
- Scientists believe that Fluorescence may be shown by animals for the purpose communication, camouflage and mate attraction.