These unimaginable rodents change colour underneath UV gentle – BGR

0
67

  • Biofluorescence is a property that allows some animals to glow under UV light, but rarely in mammals.
  • New research shows springhares, tiny rodents native to Africa, also have this strange ability, and scientists want to know why.
  • Their glowing fur is possible thanks to a compound present in their hair fibers, although the potential benefits of this remain unclear.

One of the most peculiar and rarest traits in the animal kingdom is the ability to glow in the dark. Some animals, including deep-sea fish and fireflies, can produce light in the visible spectrum. This is called bioluminescence, and it’s quite rare, but there is another type of luminescence that some animals have that we cannot see with the naked eye. It’s called biofluorescence and is an animal’s ability to glow under certain lighting conditions, such as UV light.

Again, some fish are known to have this ability, as well as certain reptiles and even birds. A few mammals have this trait as well, and researchers have just discovered a new one. Springhares, rodents that resemble tiny kangaroos in their locomotion and posture, light up a Christmas tree when hit with ultraviolet light, and scientists still aren’t sure why.

Today’s top offer These slim face masks have NEVER sold before – now they’re only $ 2 each! List price:$ 26.75 Price:$ 19.99 ($ ​​2.00 / qty) You save:$ 6.76 (25%) BGR is available on Amazon and may receive a commission Buy now Available at Amazon BGR can receive a commission

In most cases of bioluminescence, the reason for the evolutionary adaptation is clear. Deep-sea fish can use lighted “baits” to pull prey, while others have light-colored bellies that, when viewed from below, allow them to blend in with the lighter seawater above. The reasons for the biofluorescence are a little harder to determine, and since springhares can glow in multiple shades, including red and orange, and bright pink, the benefits are unknown.

“Here we are documenting the vivid biofluorescence of Springhare (Pedetidae) both in museum samples and in people living in captivity – the first documented biofluorescence of a placental mammal in the Old World,” the researchers write. “We examine the variation in biofluorescence in our sample and characterize its physical and chemical properties. The striking visual pattern and the intensity of the color shift were unique when compared to the biofluorescence of other mammals. “

In pictures taken by the scientists, the fluffy rodents look almost beyond the world. Patches of their fur glow in bright colors with no recognizable pattern. However, the fact that the illuminated parts of the fur break up the outline of the animal’s body may be an indication of its usefulness.

“Springhares are predominantly solitary animals and tend to forage in more open areas with sparse vegetation. Therefore, due to lack of cover or group vigilance, they are more exposed to predators,” the paper says. “We therefore suspect that the inconsistency of biofluorescence in Springhares could act as a kind of camouflage, but that would depend on the UV sensitivity of their predators.”

So a UV sensitive predator might be confused by the pattern it sees and have difficulty following or attacking the rodents. That would be a very useful feature, and while it has not yet been proven, it seems the most likely possibility while we wait for further research to be done.

Today’s top offer These slim face masks have NEVER sold before – now they’re only $ 2 each! List price:$ 26.75 Price:$ 19.99 ($ ​​2.00 / qty) You save:$ 6.76 (25%) BGR is available on Amazon and may receive a commission Buy now Available at Amazon BGR can receive a commission

Mike Wehner has covered technology and video games for the past decade, covering the latest news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones and future technology. Mike most recently served as Tech Editor for The Daily Dot and has been featured on USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and printing companies. His love of reporting is second only to his gambling addiction.