The world’s first fluorescent frog

  • The world’s first fluorescent frog has been discovered near Santa Fe in Argentina.
  • Scientists at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires made the discovery by accident.
    They studying the pigment of polka-dot tree frogs, a species common across the continent.
  • In normal light the frog appears to have a dull, mottled browny-green skin with red dots, but under UV light it glows a bright fluorescent green.
  • Fluorescence – the ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths – is uncommon in creatures that are land dwellers.
  • The translucent frog was found to use a blend of lymph and glandular emissions to fluoresce.
  • The researchers, who published their discovery on 13 March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the trait enhanced the brightness of the frog by 19-29%.
  • This is depending on the level of ambient light in its surroundings.
  • The compound causing the blue–green glow of the polka-dot tree frog was not previously thought to exist in vertebrates.
  • The discovery opens up the possibility that other amphibians may be able to fluoresce, particularly those with translucent skin similar to that of the tree frog.

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