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     As Earth's most diverse animals, insects have adapted an unparalleled array of vivid colors. Iridescent coloration in insects is a product of the layered structure of chitin, and not due to wavelength-absorbing pigments. Individual chitin layers span one-quarter of a wavelength of visible light, which constructively interferes with surrounding layers to reflect intense colors. The optical properties of insect cuticles extend beyond color — these structures may reflect near-infrared wavelengths to regulate temperature.
As Earth's most diverse animals, insects have adapted an unparalleled array of vivid colors. Iridescent coloration in insects is a product of the layered structure of chitin, and not due to wavelength-absorbing pigments. Individual chitin layers span one-quarter of a wavelength of visible light, which constructively interferes with surrounding layers to reflect intense colors. The optical properties of insect cuticles extend beyond color — these structures may reflect near-infrared wavelengths to regulate temperature.

 

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Michelle Dan
GPS

(watercolor). As Earth's most diverse animals, insects have adapted an unparalleled array of vivid colors. Iridescent coloration in insects is a product of the layered structure of chitin, and not due to wavelength-absorbing pigments. Individual chitin layers span one-quarter of a wavelength of visible light, which constructively interferes with surrounding layers to reflect intense colors. The optical properties of insect cuticles extend beyond color — these structures may reflect near-infrared wavelengths to regulate temperature.

mdan@caltech.edu

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