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The palmatogecko

(Pachydactylus rangei)

The Palmatogecko or Namib Gecko  is a very special species in many ways.  Because the animals that live in the Namib Desert, which appear almost transparent during the day, have come along  Webbed feet perfectly adapted to their habitat. The feet not only help the gecko dig burrows in the sand to hide, but  also prevent the sinking 

Animals in the desert sand, so the palmatogecko also got the name webbed gecko, although it lives far from any water. Scientists from the Zoological State Collection in Munich have now also discovered that the geckos can glow under UV light with the help of fluorescence. They published this discovery in January 2021. They suspect that the desert geckos use the neon-green fluorescent stripes on the sides of the body and the eye as an identification feature for conspecifics, which may also be recognizable over long distances. It is also particularly interesting that this is actually a fluorescence mechanism that was previously unknown in terrestrial vertebrates. Because the glow is not caused by bones or by fluorescent molecules in the lymphatic fluid under the skin, as is the case with the previously known mechanisms such as in chameleons. The palmatogeckos produce this effect through so-called iridophores, i.e. certain pigment cells under the skin.  However, it is not yet known exactly why the animals rely on this disco effect. What is clear, however, is that this luminous effect is particularly widespread in sea creatures, for example jellyfish, fish or corals also fluoresce.

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