Researchers discover fluorescent frog

Fluorescence is “unprecedented” in amphibians but a team of researchers in Argentina has discovered that the South American polka dot tree frog that is actually fluorescent.

The tree frog dubbed Hypsiboas punctatus initially appeared ordinary, but when the researchers shed an ultraviolet light on it, they were surprised to find that it is really fluorescent. The creature glows bright blue-green.

It means that the creature’s skin absorbs short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation and then reemits at longer wavelength.

Study co-author Norberto Peporine Lopes, a chemist at University of Sao Paulo, said, “Three molecules — hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 — in the animals' lymph tissue, skin and glandular secretions were responsible for the green fluorescence.”

The researchers further explained that the fluorescence contributes 18-29 per cent of the total emerging light in twilight as well as nocturnal scenarios, enhancing brightness of the creatures and matching their sensitivity of night vision.

The discovery of the fluorescent frog was described in the most recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.