Two unusual species of toads under the common name of the family of the saddlebearing today became the main nails of the scientific journal Scientific Reports – specialists from the University of Michigan under the guidance of Sandra Gutt, a professor of evolutionary biology, set about studying the toads of the family Brachycephalus ephippium and B. Pitanga, who found in themselves the property of bioluminescence. It is worth noting that the two species of saddlebred toads themselves were discovered as far back as 1824 by the German biologist Johann Baptist von Szpiks, so that they themselves have been known for a long time. However, their ability to emit and reflect ultraviolet was discovered only now, with the conduct of some experiments and observations of them.
Of course, the very fact of bioluminescence and the ability to reflect ultraviolet rays has been known for a long time and is inherent to a considerable number of living beings – especially reptiles and aquatic creatures. However, with regard to the aforementioned saddlebred toads, the discovery becomes even more unusual, since scientists had previously noticed nothing of the kind. First, scientists have established the fact of their absolute deafness – these toads are completely devoid of hearing and focus primarily on vision throughout the duration of their life cycle.
After that, the scientists proceeded to a more detailed analysis of this effect and found that the bones of these toads effectively reflect ultraviolet light and glow, and very brightly. Assuming at first that this ability to shine is related to the structural features of their bones, they were mistaken because it was discovered that the ability to bioluminescence is provided by the extremely thin skin of the scalloped toads, which also plays a very important role in their visual communication with each other in the life cycle.
Scientists have found that the brightest peak of ultraviolet reflection and the glow of their bones is achieved when exposed to ultraviolet rays with a figure of 365-385 nm. Which, in turn, indicates the potential fact that most likely it is about such an evolutionary tactic in which toads can change the characteristics and patterns of their behavior during one life cycle – this is what scientists will have to check in future research.