July 31, 2013 @ TheScientist
From hummingbirds to herring, a dazzling range of animals boast structural color—the brilliant iridescent hues that result not from pigment, but from light reflecting off microscale structures in feathers or skin cells. (See “Color from Structure,” The Scientist, February 2013.) However, only a select few cephalopods can rapidly fine-tune their iridescent colors for communication or camouflage. They do so by tweaking the reflective properties of an array of deep grooves in the plasma membranes of specialized cells called iridocytes. But exactly how the membrane is manipulated, and how those changes produce the whole spectrum of colors, has been unclear.
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