Some new glow-in-the-dark reptiles have been discovered in Africa. Namibia’s geckos are shining bright under black lights in a new study published in Scientific Reports. Their story says that the trademark stripes and other blots on the animals single them out to other geckos and allow them to remain hidden from predators. There’s been a recent run of animals getting discovered with these fluorescent markings. Platypus in Australia and others for the most eye-popping examples. It just goes to show that no matter how much we really know about the world, there’s still more to explore. Even strange is the fact that this particular species have slightly translucent skin and their bones glow under UV light as well. (So, that will keep you up at night as well.) Iridophores are not traditionally linked to the gecko, but certain reef fish also have this strange ability. The entire situation is extremely fascinating.
My colleagues and I have discovered intense, neon-green fluorescence in the web-footed gecko, Pachydactylus rangei!— Dr Mark D. Scherz (@MarkScherz) January 11, 2021
It's produced by modified iridophores and is amongst the brightest fluorescence in vertebrates.
Published today in @SciReports!
More here: https://t.co/3gtmeKyVm4 pic.twitter.com/TZzkcuK55N
Mark Scherz, who works as a postdoctoral researcher at Germany’s University Potsdam in the Adaptive Genomics Group talked to Live Science about the discovery. The green coloring was a pretty big shop to their group when conducting the experiment. So much overlap between these creatures and something like a chameleon makes you wonder how close some other species are to each other.
"Actually it turns out quite a few other species, including geckos, have sufficiently transparent skin that their bones' fluorescence can be seen through it under a sufficiently strong UV light," Scherz explained.
"We have observed in captivity that, although these animals are largely solitary, they do run up to one another to greet each other after a short period of separation," Scherz added. "They also lick condensation from each other's bodies. So there are lots of reasons that being able to see each other over long distances would be useful for these geckos," he said.
What’s your favorite glowing animal? Let us know down in the comments!