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Platypuses Can Glow In The Dark

According to a new study, platypuses can glow in the dark, specifically bright green or cyan under ultraviolet light.

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According to a new study, platypuses can glow in the dark, specifically bright green or cyan under ultraviolet light! The study was published earlier this month in the science journal Mammalia, led by biologist Paula Spaeth Anich from Northland College.

The team analyzed three museum platypus specimens (two males and one female) sourced from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the University of Nebraska State Museum. The scientists accidentally discovered that platypus fur absorbs UV wavelengths between 200 and 400 nanometers and then gives off visible light between 500 and 600 nanometers.

The researchers note that both males and females appear to exhibit this characteristic, though the authors advise caution, that the research isn’t peer-reviewed and the sample is tiny. Also, the researchers are “confident that the fluorescence we observed is not a property of museum specimens in general.”

The researchers speculate that platypuses glowing fur could be a way for the species to see and interact with each other at night. “UV absorbance and fluorescence may be particularly important to mammals,” write the researchers.

Believe it or not, the platypus isn’t the only animal that glows in the dark.

The platypus is one of three known bio-fluorescent mammals, the other two being opossums and flying squirrels. It’s worth mentioning, the same team involved in the new study, led by biologist Paula Spaeth Anich from Northland College, were the ones who discovered bio-fluorescence in flying squirrels last year.

In a press release, Anich said that “it was intriguing to see that animals that were such distant relatives also had bio-fluorescent fur.” The authors close their paper with a related question: “Is bio-fluorescence an ancestral mammalian trait?”

That’s where the researchers aim to start next, finding out whether bio-fluorescent fur is more common than we think it is in mammals. It’s already known to be common in fungi, reptiles, and amphibians. So maybe the trait is less rare than we thought?

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Animals

Scientists Catch a Glimpse of a Ultra-Rare Giant Phantom Jelly, With Bizarre Ribbon-Like Arms

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Researchers have seen a large deep-sea jellyfish with the assistance of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Doc Ricketts off the coast of California, in an extremely rare sighting. The footage revealed the creature’s unique and exquisite features.

The uncommon encounter was documented in November this year, 990 meters (3,200 ft) deep in Monterey Bay, according to a report issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Youtube Screenshot

The enigmatic phantom jellyfish was initially discovered in 1899, but scientists did not recognize it as a distinct species until 1960. Scientists still know very little about this creature.

The specimen of the huge phantom jelly has only been seen 110 times in 110 years across the world. According to the MBARI research, despite thousands of dives, their ROVs have only observed this amazing species nine times.

The huge phantom jellyfish has the following characteristics:

The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) broad, with four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow to be more than 10 meters (33 feet) long, according to an MBARI report.

Youtube Screenshot

The species is said to inhabit anywhere between the surface and 21,900 feet in depth. It does, however, remain in the twilight zone, which is just beyond the reach of sunlight.

The organism, formally known as ‘Stygiomedusa gigantea’, is found all across the planet except in the Arctic Ocean, according to the experts.

Youtube Screenshot

It’s worth noting that, in the past, scientists depended on trawl-nets to examine deep-sea species; but, the jellies, which transform into a viscous goo in trawl nets, were difficult to research using this outdated method. Fish, crabs, and squids are among the only creatures that can be effectively studied from nets.

Researchers may now examine these creatures in their native habitat with high-definition footage thanks to the robot cams. I, personally, prefer this “no-touch” approach.

Watch the mesmerizing video here:

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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