photo by Scott Guiver

“It’s all about refraction ” said the dragonfly to the beetle.

photo by Scott Guiver

Why do so many insects have beautiful metallic colours?

I typed this question and various forms of it into Google , I expected the results to contain either brief and precise explanations from insect forums or detailed scientific papers from studies into this question. Maybe I was being lazy, I only looked at the first couple of pages of each search – does anyone look any further than that!? But I didn’t find a satisfactory explanation. I found out how they appear coloured this way by the refraction of light on features in the structure of their exoskeletons and that maybe the resulting effect may confuse some predators  (the Common Lizard in the photo below was aware of the beetle, but did not attempt to catch it. I could only speculate on the reasons why).

photo by Scott Guiver

But then I found myself asking another question that could not be answered by another lazy google search: Could this feature also be a non visual one , i.e. sound waves refract just like light waves do, therefore could this feature  be a good one to avoid being munched by a bat? If anyone can answer these questions or point me in the right direction, I’d love to know. Thanks.

gold

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