Discovery of a desert lizard that glows by absorbing moonlight

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German scientists have discovered that a lizard “Pachydactylus rangei” found in the African desert absorbs moonlight at night and emits bright green light that can be easily seen in the semi-darkness of night. Is.

It should be noted that the process of absorbing light of one color and emitting it as light of another color is called “fluorescence”.

However, if the same process occurs in living things, it is called “biofluorescence”.

In addition to lizards, the phenomenon of biofluorite has so far been observed in many reptiles, including corals, fish, jellyfish, scorpions and frogs, and in reptiles and aquatic animals.

However, this is the first time it has been observed in a terrestrial vertebrate.

The skins or bones of all these animals contain chemical compounds that have the natural ability to absorb light from one color and emit it in another.

The lower skin of the “Pecky Dactyls rengi” lizard, found in the Namib Desert of Africa, contains cells filled with the cells of a biochemical compound called guanine, which causes its skin to swell.

This part appears yellowish white (off white).

Note that moonlight contains very small amounts of ultraviolet rays, which are completely harmless.

Discovery of a desert lizard that glows by absorbing moonlight
Discovery of a desert lizard that glows by absorbing moonlight

The skin of the “Peckie Dactyls rengi” absorbs these same rays and transfers their energy to the cells filled with guanine at the base, causing them to emit green light.

The Namib Desert is spread over three African countries: Namibia, South Africa and Angola, but most of it is located in Namibia.

This desert is also the natural habitat of the “Pecky Dactyls rengi”.

The lizard’s legs are slightly wider like a net, while its length is 4 to 6 inches.

ZSM, a biologist at the University of Munich and the University of Postdam, made the discovery after studying 55 lizards, such as the “Peckie Dactyls rengi”, which were either brought to Germany for research or were found in Germany. Was bred.

These included males, females and even babies of pecky dactyls reptiles; And all emitted bright green light in the presence of ultraviolet rays.

Full details of this research and discovery have been published in the latest issue of Open Access Online Research Journal “Scientific Reports”.