Biofluorescence In Tasmanian Devils Found By Toledo Zoo

Toledo Zoo in Ohio reported the first documented case of biofluorescence in Tasmanian devils. Biofluorescence refers to the phenomenon by which a living organism absorbs light and reemits it as a different color. Now it turns out the Tasmanian devil glows in UV light too. And it looks kind of beautifully creepy.

The first documented case of biofluorescence in Tasmanian devils

Tasmanian devils
Photo: Jake Schoen, Toledo Zoo Conservation Technician

Toledo Zoo reports ‘While it is possible that Tasmanian devils evolved biofluorescence for purposes such as those above, it is also possible (though perhaps less exciting) that due to their primarily nocturnal habits, they may not encounter fluorescence-inducing levels of UV in the wild. Additionally, Tasmanian devils or other species they interact with (such as their predators or prey) may not be able to detect UV light or the resulting fluorescence.

Even if the biofluorescence is naturally occurring and detectable by a species, it would also need to influence their behavior in order for it to be considered a functional adaptation. While caution is required when interpreting these findings, one thing is for certain: the Tasmanian devil lives up to its name in all spectrums of light’

 Image credit: Western Australian Museum