Shimmering skeleton: why sadlonova frogs glow from within
The scientists found the bright orange amphibians amazing property.
3 April 2019 at 19:35
Sadlonova toad is a tiny amphibian pumpkin color (in English they are called – the pumpkin toadlets, “pumpkin frogs”) from the family of the short-amphibians. Their sizes do not exceed two inches, and live sadlonova toad (lat. Brachycephalus ephippium) in the dense tropics of the Brazilian Atlantic forest.
In normal daylight these amphibians seem to us bright orange (sometimes yellow). This colouring they scare away predators and other enemies, warn of its virulence. But it was necessary for scientists to put sedlonov toad and her brother (lat. Brachycephalus pitanga) under the UV lamp on the head, back and legs of amphibians were bright blue shimmering patterns!
The study describing this strange phenomenon, published in the journal Scientific Reports. It turned out that amphibians glowing not skin and bone plates that form part of their skeleton. Unlike the media, bioluminescence, when a chemical reaction in the body of the animal are generating a glow, sadlonova toad fluoresce – that is, they will not glow in complete darkness without a source of irradiating light.
While there is no evidence as sadlonova toads use their ability to glow: it can serve as an additional warning to predators about the toxicity of amphibians, as some birds and spiders can see the fluorescence under natural light, says the study’s lead author Sandra Gouttes.
Also with the help of such light signals amphibians may recognize prospective partners and all members of their own species – the middle ear, and therefore of the tympanic membrane, they have, so they don’t hear the mating call of the brethren. However, it is unclear whether these amphibians to notice the glow of each other in normal daylight, so this hypothesis also needs to be checked.
Fluorescence is extremely rare in terrestrial vertebrates: similar abilities were found in turtles and chameleons. Scientists have known another type of frog that glows in ultraviolet light, but it uses completely different mechanisms – it fluoresces the skin and not the bone plate.