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Flying squirrels glow pink, thanks to fluorescence (nationalgeographic.com)
35 points by curtis 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

Pretty cool!

> Anich says that Jon Martin—a forestry professor and coauthor on the paper—was exploring a Wisconsin forest at night, using a UV flashlight to scan the canopy for lichens, fungi, plants, and frogs that occasionally fluoresce. “One evening,” says Anich, “he heard the chirp of a flying squirrel at a bird feeder, pointed the flashlight at it, and was amazed to see pink fluorescence.”

I like that we're literally hunting for fluorescent organisms. I suspect that kind of bioprospecting for high-value exotic genetic traits will become more and more interesting as we move forward with our biological engineering capabilities.

I volunteer to test whether their diet (90% truffles) can cause the same issue in humans.

Obviously this is just a coincidence and not adaptive. Squirrels didn't evolve in an environment where people are going around shining them with UV flashlights.

Indeed. There is the fluorescent frog (this one https://www.nature.com/news/first-fluorescent-frog-found-1.2...), but the fluorescent compound might well have evolved as protection against UV light. Some other animals have bile dyes in their tissues, and again they are only fluorescent by accident.

That might be obvious if they only fluoresced when illuminated with a UV flashlight held by a person.

When else are they going to encounter that much UV?

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