Menu

Scientists Discover First Fluorescent Frog

The polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) glows under a blacklight, due to the presence of three fluorescent molecules in its lymph tissue and skin. 

Mar 14, 2017
Diana Kwon

JULIÁN FAIVOVICHA AND CARLOS TABOADA

When researchers placed a polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) under a black light, they made an unexpected discovery. The amphibian glowed with a bright, green-blue hue, the scientists reported Monday (March 13) in PNAS.

Fluorescence exists elsewhere in the animal kingdom, in some fish, sharks, and scorpions, for example. However, this is the first amphibian scientists have discovered with this trait. “We couldn’t believe it,” study co-author Julián Faivovich, a herpetologist at the University of Buenos Aires, told Nature.

Polka dog frogs contain biliverdin, a pigment found in some insects that gives them a dim red fluorescence, coauthor Carlos Taboada, a University of Buenos Aires herpetologist, told Nature. So the team expected the frogs to glow red under a UV flashlight, but instead, they emitted a brilliant, green-blue glow. The team also discovered that the fluorescence originated from three molecules, hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1, in the frogs’ lymph tissue and skin.

“It would be interesting to investigate if [fluorescence] has a role in species recognition, or whether it facilitates the formation of couples,” Bibiana Rojas, an ecologist at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, who was not involved in the work, told Chemistry World. “Fluorescence would be potentially very useful in a noisy environment and in a habitat with dense foliage, as it would make individuals brighter.”

It’s possible that other frog species are fluorescent, too. “Maybe we should be looking at every species we catch and trying to see if they fluoresce,” David Blackburn at the University of Florida who was not involved in the study, told New Scientist. “There’s very few frogs that have a feature that’s not found in any other frogs.” 

April 2019

Will Car T Cells Smash Tumors?

New trials take the therapy beyond the blood

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Download this guide from NanoTemper to learn how to identify and evaluate the quality of your protein samples!
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Download this white paper from ELGA LabWater to learn about the role of pure water in the laboratory and the advantages of in-house water purification!
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu Corporation announces the release of the Nexera Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph series, incorporating artificial intelligence as Analytical Intelligence, allowing systems to detect and resolve issues automatically. The Nexera series makes lab management simple by integrating IoT and device networking, enabling users to easily review instrument status, optimize resource allocation, and achieve higher throughput.
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
Increasing accuracy and reducing cost barriers, IDT’s innovative system delivers simple and cost-effective amplicon sequencing