Fluorescent Patterns Found in Common Arthropods With Exposure to UV Light


  • Natalie Johnson
  • Nicole Pardue


Fluorescence occurs in arthropods due to the absorption of electromagnetic radiation from UV light rays. Many species of arthropods exhibit this trait as a result of unique pigments within their cuticle layers. This trait is useful for certain arthropods because it can aid in sexual selection and help them recognize other organisms of the same species. In this experiment, twenty different common arthropods were photographed under normal lighting and under UV light in order to determine if they exhibit fluorescence. Each specimen was then compared to the normal image under standard lighting in order to determine the amount of fluorescence. Many of the arthropods photographed demonstrated slight amounts of fluorescence on certain body regions. The majority of fluorescence was concentrated on the softer cuticle inside the sutures on their body segments. The differing amounts of fluorescence exhibited by each arthropod may help to reveal the different evolutionary pressures their ancestors faced. The majority of the sample displayed only a slight fluorescence, which may indicate that high amounts of fluorescence are not evolutionarily favored.