Study Reveals Gophers’ Biofluorescence

You can learn a lot about animals by simply watching them. But some secrets can only be revealed in the dark … with an ultraviolet flashlight. This happens to be the case for pocket gophers, small rodents that live underground in sandy soil. A new paper by University of Georgia (UGA) researchers found that these feisty, solitary, round-cheeked animals have a special capability that’s only revealed under ultraviolet light: They are biofluorescent, giving off a colored glow when illuminated with UV light. Image shows pocket gopher illuminated with UV light (Credit: UGA). Published online on July 19, 2021 in The American Midland Naturalist,  this is the first time biofluorescence has been documented in pocket gophers. J.T. Pynne, a recent PhD graduate of the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and lead author of the study, said he was inspired to shine a light on the possibility a few years ago, after reading similar studies documenting the phenomenon in flying squirrels and opossums. The new article is titled “Ultraviolet Biofluorescence in Pocket Gophers.”

Login Or Register To Read Full Story