The South American polka dot tree frog is a fluorescent frog which was recently discovered by scientists. This creature, when placed under fluorescent light, it starts to glow bright green. Researchers have been looking into this, and they have established that the frog glows with 18% of the light of a full moon. On March 13, scientists have released a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The polka dot tree amphibian is a fluorescent frog
The team of scientists formed by Brazilian and Argentinian researchers has called this outstanding phenomenon fluorescence. They argued that this occurs due to compounds which are secreted by the lymph glands and the skin of the frog. This finding represents for them a significant step forward when it comes to the understanding of amphibians.
Norberto Peporine Lopes, the co-author of the new research, argued that he and his team did not expect to unveil this bio-fluorescence. For them, it was a tremendous surprise. This fluorescent frog known as the polka dot tree frog is not like the anglerfish or fireflies. Those creatures produce their own light. On the other hand, this species of frog absorbs the light and re-emits it at a longer wavelength.
Its skin re-emits the light absorbed, glowing green
Researchers have witnessed a similar phenomenon in sea turtles, sharks, and other creatures. However, they had never seen such a thing in amphibians. When scientists started their investigation on the texture and structure of the polka dot tree frog’s skin, they expected to find that it contained red fluorescence. Nevertheless, the skin of the frog contains a chemical substance known as biliverdin.
This chemical is known to link to proteins, and it helps certain species of insects to re-emit red light. Despite all these logic explanations, researchers revealed that this substance gives this species of the frog the color green, not red as researchers might have believed. Hypsiboas punctatus glowed green under blacklight. Julian Faivovich, a herpetologist who was a member of the team of scientists, argued that the entire team could not believe that such a thing was possible.
Researchers continued their study, and they discovered that there were three molecules which were responsible for the green color, namely Hyloin G1, Hyloin-L2, and Hyloin-L1. Dr. Lopes, a chemist at the Brazil’s University of Sao Paulo, stated that these chemicals are unique in the world of fluorescent animals. Thus, this little fluorescent frog features some unique characteristics which made it famous in the world of amphibians.
Image source: wikipedia