The scientists from Argentine and Brazil made the discovery at the Bernardino Rivadaiva Natural Sciences Museum while studying the metabolic origin of pigments in a tree-frog species common to South America.
The scientists said that the frog’s translucent skin is a muted yellowish-brown color with red dots under normal light, but it turned into a celestial green color when the scientists shone an ultraviolet light on it.
Julian Faivovich, a fellow researcher said, “We were very excited. It was quite disconcerting.”
He said that the discovery can radically modify what is known about fluorescence in terrestrial environments, allowing the discovery of new fluorescent compounds that may have scientific or technological applications.
He further added that it also “generates new questions about visual communication in amphibians.”
The team studied some 200 more examples to ensure the phenomenon was not due to the frog’s captivity, and detected the fluorescent properties in all the specimens.
Maria Lagorio, a fluorescent expert and independent researcher, told media that the trait is common in aquatic species and seen in some insects, “but has never been scientifically reported in amphibians.”
The finding was recently published in a journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.