The light reflectors in the beetles Calloodes grayanus and Anoplognathus parvulus are examined. Contrasting multilayer reflectors are revealed. Calloodes grayanus appears a weak green colour, matching its background leaves, while A. parvulus is strongly metallic-gold coloured. The former reflection is diffuse, as the result of a structure causing scattering that overlies the multilayer reflector, whereas the latter reflection is strongly directional. The green colour of C. grayanus is achieved by a multilayer reflector with a fixed spatial periodicity, here termed 'regular', which is far removed from the quarterwave, or physically 'ideal', condition. The gold colour of A. parvulus is achieved by a type of reflector which involves systematically changing optical thicknesses of the component layers with depth in the structure. A layer of melanin underlies the reflector of C. grayanus to absorb the transmitted portion of light and prevent its back-reflectance, which would otherwise alter the green colour. The resultant structural reflectance from C. grayanus effectively matches green pigments, which are rare in beetles.
Multilayer reflectors in animals using green and gold beetles as contrasting examples
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Andrew R. Parker, David R. Mckenzie, Maryanne C. J. Large; Multilayer reflectors in animals using green and gold beetles as contrasting examples. J Exp Biol 1 May 1998; 201 (9): 1307–1313. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.201.9.1307
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