Humidity-dependent colour change in the green forester moth, Adscita statices

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The colours of insects serve important visual functions in aiding mate recognition, camouflage and warning. The display of insects is usually static, as cuticle coloration does not (or hardly) change during the lifespan of a mature imago form. Here, we describe a case of humidity-dependent, brilliant coloration in the green forester moth, Adscita statices. We show, by employing spectroscopic and ultrastructural methods, that the moth's colour results from the interference of incident light with an unusual hydrophilic melanized-chitin multilayer present in the wing scales. Humidity changes in the environment affect the multilayer properties, causing a significant shift of the green-peaking reflectance in the dry state to a rusty colour when damp, resulting in the strong colour change between day and dusk or dawn.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Fribourg

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Evolutionsbiologi


TidskriftBiology letters
Utgåva nummer9
StatusPublished - 2019
Peer review utfördJa

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