Frogs’ Fluorescence May Be a Way of Communicating

Frogs’ Fluorescence May Be a Way of Communicating

Once thought to be a rare occurrence among terrestrial animals, fluorescence is more widespread than scientists once thought. Frogs’ fluorescence was first discovered in 2017.

Before that, scientists were not aware that some of these amphibians were biofluorescent. Biofluorescence has to do with light wavelengths.

According to a report published in the scientific journal Nature, a creature absorbs high-energy light wavelengths and then re-emits that as light wavelengths that have lower energy.

This results in the creature glowing. Often these glows are perceived by humans as greens, reds, or blues.

According to a recent study, scientists have now found that there are far more biofluorescent frog species than previously thought. The team looked for biofluorescence in frogs using five types of light.

Past studies only used a few types of light. Typically, these were violet or ultraviolet. The researchers found that all of the 151 frogs they looked at were varying degrees of biofluorescent.

Green and orange were the colors seen in the frogs’ fluorescence. The study found that most of the frogs’ fluoresce was seen under blue light. In nature, this type of light is found at twilight.

The researchers believe that the biofluorescence demonstrated by frogs may be a way for members of the same species to signal to each other.

This is supported by the fact that the body parts that had the strongest fluorescence are those that are used to signal to other frogs of the same species. For example, the throat and belly are commonly used in mating rituals.

These areas also had a high amount of fluorescence. Other frogs are likely able to see this fluorescence which may make mating displays more impressive.

Other types of fluorescence may be intended to deter predators. Orange is often used by animals to signal that they are poisonous and warn would-be predators to steer clear. Orange fluorescence in frogs may play a similar role according to the study’s authors.

Amphibians are facing a devastating population decline due to habitat loss, Pollution, and more.

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This article by Willow Lynn was first published by One Green Planet on 14 September 2023. Image Credit :Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock.

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