Researchers announce discovery of first fluorescent frog

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At first glance, the South American polka-dot tree frog doesn't seem especially extraordinary, but scientists recently discovered it possesses an entirely remarkable trait, notes The Guardian.

When exposed to UV light, the brownish creature glows a blue-tinged green.

That finding makes the small amphibian the first reported frog imbued with the power of fluorescence.


Image: Julián Faivovich and Carlos Taboda

The team, which hails from various institutions in Argentina, suspected a glow of some kind was possible, but, due to the presence of the pigment biliverdin, they were expecting red, as that's how it manifests in some bugs.

Though they've traced the green hue to a handful of molecules, the researchers are still uncertain about what end the fluorescence serves.

One theory is that it helps the frogs identify one another in times of darkness.

RELATED: Check out this newly discovered frog that resembles Kermit:

6 PHOTOS
Newly Discovered Frog Resembles Kermit
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Newly Discovered Frog Resembles Kermit
Kermit the Frog appears at the Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz on November 11, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Muppets Studio)
The Kermit the Frog balloon makes its way down Central Park West during the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade November 22, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Kelly/Getty Images)
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy arrive for the premiere of Disney's 'Muppets Most Wanted' at the El Capitan Theatre on March 11, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kermit the Frog appears at the Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz on November 11, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Muppets Studio)
Muppet Kermit the Frog appears at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Triangle on November 14, 2003,in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images)
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