Bioluminescence – Part 11

We are coming to the end of our series on glowing organisms. We’ll wrap it up next time. But first I want to discuss some really amazing biofluorescence recently discovered in mammals. Shining a UV flashlight on flying squirrels causes them to glow bright pink! Why does the squirrel do this? Biologists have speculated that they are trying to confuse owls that prey on them. Owls can see the UV light and the bright color might fool them into thinking it isn’t a squirrel. This squirrel is in an exclusive club of only 4 glowing mammals that includes possums, Tasmanian devils, and platypuses. In the picture up above you can see a glowing possum. Notice that it has the same bright pink color as the squirrel! Researchers from SC discovered this luminescent ability in 2020. They are still unsure why the possum glows hot pink.

Posted on March 1, 2021 by dwoetzel.

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