Do cats glow in the dark? A recent study discovered that certain mammals, including cats can fluoresce.
In recent years, the phenomenon of fluorescence under ultraviolet light has been documented in numerous animal groups, such as birds, reptiles, insects, and fish. However, there has been limited knowledge regarding the prevalence of fluorescence in mammals. That is, until now.
Cats Have The Ability To Glow In The Dark
In a recently published study in the journal Royal Society Open Science, veterinary researchers have made an intriguing discovery: cats exhibit a form of luminescence in the dark. This phenomenon, similar to the glow-in-the-dark effect observed in nightclub environments under ultraviolet-A (UV-A) lighting, does not rely on club lights to occur.
Researchers in Australia conducted an analysis of a museum\’s assortment of mammal specimens to investigate the extent to which certain mammals, including cats, exhibit luminescence when exposed to UV light. Additionally, they conducted tests to confirm that this luminescence was indeed due to fluorescence and not another unrelated phenomenon.
Lead author Kenny Travouillon, a paleontologist and acting curator of ornithology at Western Australian Museum, tested frozen and preserved mammal specimens. The findings were then sent to Curtin University in Perth for analysis under a range of UV lights.
Loads Of Mammals Glow In The Dark
They found that 125 species had the fluorescent properties that allow them to glow in the dark under a UV light, including the domestic species of cat (Felis catus). “We report fluorescence for 125 mammal species, from half of all mammalian families and representing almost all clades in the mammalian phylogeny,” the scientists wrote.
Several other mammal species were found to exhibit luminescence when exposed to UV lights, including bats, platypus, koalas, polar bears, zebras, dolphins, and even humans. The researchers also noted that the only major group of mammals missing from their study was lemurs, and they anticipate that this group may also contain species capable of fluorescence.
How Do Cats Glow In The Dark
While there are various manifestations of fluorescence, they all involve the absorption of light and the subsequent emission of low-level light, resulting in a glow. The researchers observed that fluorescence was most frequently observed and most pronounced in nocturnal species, as well as in those with terrestrial, arboreal, or fossorial behaviors, especially when larger parts of their bodies exhibited fluorescence.
Photographs provided evidence that out of 125 species examined, including 54 nocturnal and 71 diurnal ones, they all displayed some form of observable fluorescence. This luminescence could be found in various areas, including white or light-colored fur, quills, whiskers, claws, teeth, and even some exposed skin. The scientists concluded that fluorescence was a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom, with different species exhibiting varying degrees of this fascinating trait.
Find out why do cat\’s eyes glow in the dark HERE!
Nonetheless, it remains uncertain whether the luminescence observed in mammals has evolved as a biological adaptation for communication or safety. It is plausible that this trait aids animals in spotting one another in low-light conditions, such as at night.
The study authors noted, \”The specific biological purpose of fluorescence in mammals remains ambiguous. While it seems to be a common feature of uncolored fur and skin, it could potentially serve to increase the visibility of these areas and enhance visual signaling, particularly for nocturnal species.\”
Thank you for joining us in the fascinating world of feline fluorescence. We hope you found this discovery about cats and other luminescent mammals as intriguing as we did. We\’d love to hear your thoughts on this groundbreaking research. Do you have any questions, insights, or personal anecdotes related to this topic? Please share your comments below, and let\’s continue the conversation!