Fluorescent Wasp Nests Shine Under Ultraviolet Light

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Senior Scientist Bernd Schollhorn first discovered fluorescent wasp nests in the middle of a North Vietnam forest. It appears insects are now lighting up their homes in shades that make one think of a rave party. He first espied the eerie yellowing green light when he turned on his black lantern. He later realized that it was a fluorescent wasp nest.

Information About The Fluorescent Wasp Nests

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The nest was built by paper wasps of the genus Polistes. The caps covering the cocoon in the nests radiate a strange greenish glow when exposed to ultraviolet rays. The hexagon-shaped entrance to the paper caps is shut with caps that protect the larvae inside.

These cocoon caps covering the fluorescent wasp nest emit an unearthly greenish radiance when exposed to ultraviolet light at wavelengths of 360 to 400 nanometers.

The University of Paris team was on the lookout in tropical forests for insects that glimmer in the dark. It was the reason for the UV-led torches they had in their hands.

Schellhorn said that it was the first time that any fluorescent wasp nest was observed by photographers or scientists. The fluorescent wasp nests seem white when seen under white light.

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But in the darkness, their fluorescent qualities are apparent when exposed to an ultraviolet torch and can be easily spied from a distance of 65 feet (20 meters).

The findings were published by a group of scientists in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Fluorescent Wasp Nests

Fluorescent wasp nests found in the French Guiana and the rainforests of the Amazon were studied in similar circumstances. It was found that all the tests had similar properties and the wasps had been concealing those qualities from humans for a long time.

Each of the fluorescent wasp nests that were inspected exhibited similar properties. The range and the intensity of the glow differed in each region.

Scientists are yet to determine the cause of the glow in the fluorescent wasp nest and the purpose it serves. They guess that it could act as a beacon for wasps returning home. Another theory is that UV rays help protect it from external dangerous UV rays.

Another theory proposed by researchers is that fluorescent wasp nests help regulate the temperature and help in the growth of the larvae.

Scientists have for years studied marine creatures that light up to attract mates, including corals, worms, jellies, and even some varieties of sharks and other fishes. Terrestrial fluorescent could be more common than we know as little research has been done in this field. 

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