When flying squirrels glow pink

Three species of flying squirrels, including southern (Glaucomys Volans), northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and Humboldt’s flying (Glaucomys oregonensis) squirrels, turn a bright pink when they’re under ultraviolet light, researchers found. Biologist John Martin found accidentally found this out in his own backyard before his colleagues conducted officially conducted research in the lab. The researchers examined 100 specimens of flying squirrels from museum collections. They also saw the pink color show up in the squirrels five more times under UV light in the wild. Researchers don’t yet know why the squirrels display the pink color, but they think it may have something to do with confusing their owl predators.

Read the study in the Journal of Mammalogy and check out this article in the New York Times.

Header Image: Southern flying squirrels like this one shine a bright pink when ultraviolet light is shined on them.
©Ken Thomas