Researchers discovered a new species of frog that can glow in the dark. It is a green polka dotted frog which they found in the Amazon basin near Argentina. When it is exposed to ultraviolet light, the frog starts shimmering in neon green shades. Researchers dubbed it the first amphibian which can glow in the dark.
Fluorescence is the ability to emit light. Thus, the newly discovered frog is fluorescent. Researchers observed this property in several sea creatures, such as sea turtles, corals, sharks, and even some species of fish. The ability was observed in some land creatures, too, but this was the first time when it was seen in an amphibian.
How did they find the frog was fluorescent?
The researchers were studying the skin pigments in the polka dotted frog from Santa Fe, Argentina, when they observed that it was fluorescent. Julián Faivovich, herpetologist at the University of Buenos Aires and the lead author of the study, explained how they noticed that the frog was glowing in the dark.
“For some things we were planning on doing, we had to illuminate the frog tissues with UV light. Then we realized the whole frog was fluorescing.”
He and his team published the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
How can the frog glow in the dark?
The skin of the frog is normally of a pale yellow color, but if it is exposed to black UV light in the dark, it starts glowing. While they were analyzing the frog, the researchers found three molecules, hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2, and hyloin-G1, in the lymph tissue and skin glands of the frog. These molecules are responsible with fluorescence, and each of them contains a hydrocarbon chain which can intensify the glowing up to 30 percent.
Initially, the researchers wondered if the frog was bioluminescent or fluorescent. Fluorescent creatures have to absorb the light before they emit it, while bioluminescent creatures do not need to absorb any light, as they produce it from their bodies.
Now, researchers want to collect more frogs from the area and see if they also have this amazing property. If you are curious about how the frog might look like, here is a video of the glow in the dark creature. These wonderful creatures do not cease to amaze and remind us how diverse nature is.
Image Source: Pixabay