A strange unique feature of some small Brazilian amphibians was recently discovered: natural fluorescence. In the Brazilian Atlantic forest, pumpkin toadlets (Brachycephalus ephippium) are tiny, brightly-colored, and poisonous frogs.
Seen by day, they walk around the forest producing soft buzzing calls in search of a mate. Interestingly, Postdoctoral Associate Sandra Goutte discovered not only that Brachycephalus ephippium could not hear its own mating calls, but unexpectedly, “when they shone an ultra-violet (UV) lamp on the frogs, their backs and heads glowed intensely.”
Read more at ScienceDaily.
Not to be confused with bioluminescence which is the ability to emit light in the dark, fluorescence is the absorption of short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation reemitted at longer wavelengths. In fluorescence, energy from an external light source is absorbed is and almost immediately reemitted with its color modified. Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction, rather than absorbed light, causing a visible glow. Bioluminescence is a chemiluminescence.
With the pumpkins toadlet, it is believed that the fluorescent color we humans can not see without a UV light is seen by predators and potential frog mates.
Quiz: Is glow in the dark hair fluorescence or chemiluminescence?
I’ve read that glow in the dark hair is a “growing fashion trend” somewhere.
Image via @alxdoeshair on Instagram. Fun at dance parties.