Click picture for a good article on Pollia Condensata from Smithsonian Magazine.
The most intense color in the biological world belongs to a tiny African berry. Iridescent blue and metallic, it literally outshines any other plant or animal substance in the world.
The plant itself is called Pollia condensata, and researchers have now explained the material magic underlying its marvelous hues: layers of cells that refract light in a manner usually seen in butterfly wings andbeetle shells.
"Structural colors come about not by pigments that absorb light, but the way transparent material is arranged on the surface of a substance," said physicist Ullrich Steiner of Cambridge University. "This fruit is one of the first known examples in plants. We compared it with some other structural colors, such as the morpho butterflywing, which is often described as the strongest structural color. This is stronger."
Pollia condensata Berries: Pigments fade, but structural colors remain largely untouched by time. Berries used in the new study came from botanical garden specimens collected in 1974, "and this one here is as bright and shiny blue as it was 40 years ago," Steiner said.
Niva and Aude, the mantises who showed up this past week both died Thursday night/Friday morning. : (
Niva spent 5 days on my desk and this morning she was dead in the hallway. Luckily, hours earlier I got some priceless final images of her before I went to bed.
The second mantis, Aude began gracing the other side of the desk (a few days after Niva arrived) fresh from having lost of a fight with a larger 3rd mantis on my curtains while I was gone at school-- the 3rd never to be seen again. Aude hung out on my desk for the last two days. Despite having had his right fore-limb ripped off and his mouth munched on he was nimble to the end: he didn't want to eat but crawled all over my hand and we said goodnight.
I'd noticed immediately when I'd gotten home yesterday both their eyes were darkening and even feeding them via Miyagi capture tactics (flies and skeeters) couldn't help prolong the inevitable. RIP, gone but the lesson gleaned will never be forgotten: Get what you want in sight and let it rip.