The polka-dot tree frog, which is about 3 centimetres long, is pale green and speckled with white, yellow or reddish spots. It is commonly found all over the Amazon basin and is mainly active at dawn, dusk and night.
Julián Faivovich at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, made the discovery unexpectedly while studying a pigment in the frog. “For some things we were planning on doing, we had to illuminate the frog tissues with UV light. Then we realised the whole frog was fluorescing,” he says. . . .
So far it’s unclear what purpose, if any, the trait serves, but it’s plausible that it may have some role in communication, says David Blackburn at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “We think a lot about multimodal signals, both noises and visual,” he says. “Thinking about fluorescence playing a role in that could be really exciting.”
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