WORLD’S FIRST FLUORESCENT FROG DISCOVERED IN ARGENTINA
In regular light, the common South American tree frog doesn’t look like anything particularly special: it’s just a small pale green animal with a pattern of red spots dotted across its back. But put it in a UV spotlight and it turns into an amphibian disco ball, with fluorescent light beaming from its body.
The unusual property was discovered by accident by researchers from Buenos Aires, Argentina while they were studying other properties of the frog’s colouring.
Natural fluorescence has been observed in several species of fish and turtles, but never before in an amphibian. The psychedelic glow-in-the-dark effect occurs when shortwave light is absorbed and then re-emitted at longer wavelengths, and is caused by compounds called hyloins found in the animal’s lymph and skin glands. It increases the frog’s brightness by around 20 per cent during a full moon, and around 30 per cent during twilight.
The fluorescence occurs at a frequency of light that directly matches the sensitivity of the frogs’ night vision, making it likely that they can see the glow, the researchers say.
It turns out the South American tree frog glows under UV light. Its poi skills are still to be determined…