World's first fluorescent frog that glows bright green is found in Argentina
Those researchers don't know why the polka-dot tree frog is fluorescent yet, but their discovery could lead to a whole new way of studying amphibians. Because science does not know how this affects the frog's eyesight, Taboada and company plan on further studies including the objective of the molecules. According to the research team, fluorescence is rare in terrestrial animals and was unheard of in amphibians until now. The frogs contain a chemical called biliverdin, which has been known to bond to proteins and help some insects fluoresce red. The researchers published their results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
Upon through investigation, researchers found that three molecules, hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 in the animals' lymph tissue and skin glands are likely responsible for this green glow. But researchers in Argentina recently got a huge surprise when they shined an ultraviolet light on it, revealing that the creature is actually fluorescent and glows bright blue-green. The frog's light green becomes vivid under the UV light.
Fluorescence or the ability to emit different colors after absorbing light, has been observed in a variety of ocean creatures such as fish, sharks, corals and sea turtles and even in few land animals such as scorpions and parrots, but it is the first time scientists have seen this trait in an amphibian. By contrast, it is unclear why the polka dot tree frog has a fluorescent ability, but possible explanations could be for the objective of communication, or to attract a mate. Taboada intends to study the photoreceptors of the frogs to test whether this light emission correlates with the necessary visual requirements for the frog to see clearly. In this regard, fluorescence is different from bioluminescence which is generated through chemical reactions.
The fluorescent frog was discovered by scientists at Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum, which is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. No other fluorescent animal uses anything like them! "The closest similar molecules are found in plants, says study co-author Norberto Peporine Lopes, a chemist at the University of São Paulo in Brazil". It's been linked to red light in other species, so when the frog glowed green it came as something of a shock. Instead of giving off the expected reddish color from the biliverdin, the polka-dot tree frogs glowed a greenish-blue color. But the receptors are more sensitive to longer wavelengths, which the frogs produce with fluorescence.