Is an ultraviolet flashlight part of your camping kit? If not, you may want to get one. Scientists in Wisconsin have just discovered that flying squirrels, including two specimens of B.C., are clearly fluorescent under UV light.
Skeptical? At the beginning, also the colleagues of the biologist Jonathan Martin, of Wisconsin, who came across the splendid squirrels in their own backyard.
Martin said Black Press It all started when the world's first fluorescent frogs were discovered in the tropics in 2017.
With the intention of finding out if the frogs in their woods backyard also fluoresced (they did not), he bought a UV lantern.
Martin stood outside with the flashlight, poking around some of the plants around, when he heard the activity at his bird feeder.
"We have some flying squirrels coming to the bird feeder and I've been out there, heard it and did not even think it was a UV light in my hand," said Martin, who instinctively turned to the squirrels. "I was like," Holy smokes! "
Under UV light, the flying squirrels were fluorescent pink.
"The photos do not do it justice," Martin. "It's bright pink. It's neon pink.
Being a professor of forestry at Northland College in Wisconsin, or a "tree face," as he puts it, Martin was somewhat skeptical when he told his colleagues in mammals about fuchsia hair.
But at Martin's request, Northland's natural resource teacher, Erik Olson, took a UV flashlight along with him on a mammal capture trip. Olson saw the pink rodents as well as the Northland small animal specialist, Paula Spaeth Anich, and soon the teachers were collaborating with Allison Kohler, a graduate student in Northland at the time.
Did you know flying squirrels GLOW PINK in the dark? They fluoresce under UV! My colleague made the amazing discovery standing in his backyard (in his pajamas) with a UV flashlight! # science discovery @northland_edu https://t.co/Krt5CTGids
– Sarah Johnson (@ SarahEcologist) January 25, 2019
Kohler, who is the lead author of the article published in the Journal of Mammalogy on January 23, went to museums to test specimens of flying squirrels for fluorescence.
"We saw this on practically every specimen, so we knew it was really something special," Martin said.
Martin was able to confirm that there were at least two Canadian squirrels from the Glaucomys sabrinus (Northern Flying Squirrel) variety included in the database of about 130 specimens.
Based on the longitude and latitude listed in the database, two of the Canadian specimens originated from the Lower Mainland of B.C. One of Hope and one from Abbotsford.
Even more interesting are the years in which some of the specimens, including the Canadians, were collected.
"According to the database, one of the B.C. specimens was collected in 1894," Martin said.
While the scientists who made the discovery believe that fluorescence can be caused by some type of protein in their skin, more research is needed to be sure.
|Northland College specialist in small animals Paula Spaeth Anich. (Photo submitted)|
"The next step would really be to dig the location in the hair, the structure, the protein as well as the behavior of these creatures," Martin said.
Does it affect your fitness or is it just an artifact, something strange that happens when you live a nightlife? We do not know, we do not know.