Sometimes the greatest discoveries happen when we aren’t looking for them, as is the case with a new species discovered in South America. Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo were wearing red light headlamps while searching the Brazilian forest for bioluminescent mushrooms and instead stumbled across a new species of fungus gnat.
This new species, Neoceroplatus betaryiensis, is the first known land dwelling blue bioluminescing species in the neotropics. Other bioluminescent organisms in the region emit red, green or yellow light. Only the translucent larvae of this new species bioluminesce from two glowing spots near their eyes, and from their tail.
These larvae, and other bioluminescent organisms, generate light thanks to a chemical reaction between luciferin and luciferase. The researchers now hope to isolate and further study these two chemicals from the new species. A better understanding of these two chemicals has the potential to lead to developments in biotechnology as well as gene markers for use in biomedical research.
Source: Phys Org
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