Petals produce a 'blue halo' that helps bees find flowers

18 Oct 2017

New study finds “messy” microscopic structures on petals of some flowers manipulate light to produce a blue colour effect that is easily seen by bee pollinators. Researchers say these petal grooves evolved independently multiple times across flowering plants, but produce the same result: a floral halo of blue-to-ultraviolet light.

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Detail of Kingfisher, woodblock printed in colour, Kitagawa Utamaro

Why does the kingfisher have blue feathers?

12 Aug 2015

The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, K is for Kingfisher. Look out for them among the swamp cypresses at the Botanic Garden, where the secrets behind their cyan and blue feathers are being studied by an extraordinary collaboration of scientists.

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Cyphochilus beetle

The beetle’s white album

15 Aug 2014

The physical properties of the ultra-white scales on certain species of beetle could be used to make whiter paper, plastics and paints, while using far less material than is used in current manufacturing methods.

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Buttercup under chin

Why buttercups reflect yellow on chins

14 Dec 2011

Scientists discover why buttercups reflect yellow on chins – and it doesn’t have anything to do with whether you like butter. The new research sheds light on children’s game and provides insight into pollination.

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