Ultraviolet fluorescence discovered in New World flying squirrels (Glaucomys)— Allie Monahan Kohler (@KohlerMonahan) January 27, 2019
Allison M Kohler, Erik R Olson, Jonathan G Martin & Paula Spaeth Anich
Journal of Mammalogy, gyy177, https://t.co/mzE0Lkhh7y pic.twitter.com/yacOKVHIZg
Humboldt’s flying squirrel, a local rodent that travels by gliding from tree to tree, is one of three groups of flying squirrels that glow hot pink when exposed to ultraviolet light, new research suggests.
The New York Times reports that scientists published their findings in the Journal of Mammalogy last week, stating that southern, northern and Humboldt’s flying squirrels all emit the same ultraviolet fluorescence.
Previously thought to be northern flying squirrels, researchers determined Humboldt’s flying squirrels were their own unique species in 2017.
According to the Times, scientists say the squirrels may have evolved this ultraviolet fluorescence to sneak past predators and/or communicate with one another.
“It could also just be not ecologically significant to the species,” Texas A&M Graduate student and flying squirrel researcher Allie Kohler told the Times. “It could just be a cool color that they happen to produce.”