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pigment in blue bottle files

Peter W Pappas ppappas at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Thu Jun 9 06:16:00 EST 1994


In article <1994Jun9.014805.18755 at martha.utcc.utk.edu>,
 <ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu> wrote:
>In the orignial post on Bionet.general
>
>>>> colinc at cix.compulink.co.uk ("Colin Cracknell") wrote:
>>>>
>>>> As a child I used to wonder why big fat flies were known as bluebottles,
>>>> when they were black. As time went on, I saw occasional blue ones, but
>>>> almost all seemed to be black. (stuff deleted)
>>>> My current working hypothesis is that the colour is in some way
>>>> temperature-dependent.   (more stuff deleted)
>>>> Has any serious work been done on this? What is the
>>>> metallic pigment in Calliphoridae anyway?
>
>>> mike at biu.icnet.uk (Mike Mitchell) replied:
>>>
>>> The pigment may not be a pigment after all. Many butterflies have
>>> similar metallic sheens, but this is caused by the scales
>>> on their wings. I understand that these scales polarise light.
>>> Of course this could be completely wrong!
>
>    This sounds reasonable to me. I wonder if we can get the expert opinion of

>    an Entomologist to set us straight ?
>
>
>**********************************
>*  Charles T. Faulkner           *
>*  Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville  *
>*  (ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu)      *
>*********************************
>
I believe the same things holds true to coloration in some birds -- that is, 
blue feathers are not actually blue, but they appear blue because of the way in
which they refract light.  If there's not an entomologist out there who can 
help, perhaps there's an ornithologist who has an explanation.
-- 
Peter W. Pappas, Professor/Chairperson, Department of Zoology,
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH  43210  USA
E-mail: pappas.3 at osu.edu; FAX (614)-292-2030,
PHONE (614)-292-8088



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