Structural coloured feathers of mallards act by simple multilayer photonics.

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_3F51EA27BBF1
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Structural coloured feathers of mallards act by simple multilayer photonics.
Journal
Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Author(s)
Stavenga D.G., van der Kooi C.J., Wilts B.D.
ISSN
1742-5662 (Electronic)
ISSN-L
1742-5662
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2017
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
14
Number
133
Pages
1-12
Language
english
Abstract
The blue colours of the speculum of the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), both male and female, and the green head feathers of the male arise from light interacting with stacks of melanosomes residing in the feather barbules. Here, we show that the iridescent colours can be quantitatively explained with an optical multilayer model by using a position-dependent effective refractive index, which results from the varying ratio of melanin and keratin. Reflectance spectra obtained by multilayer modelling and three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain calculations were virtually identical. The spectral properties of the barbules' photonic structures are sensitive to variations in the multilayer period and the cortex thickness, but they are surprisingly robust to variations in the spatial parameters of the barbules' melanosome stacks. The blue and green reflectance spectra of the structural-coloured feathers correspond with the sensitivity spectra of the short- and middle-wavelength-sensitive photoreceptors, indicating their biological significance for intraspecific signalling.

Keywords
animal coloration, finite-difference time-domain, iridescence, melanin, sexual dichromatism
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
07/07/2017 13:25
Last modification date
20/08/2019 14:36
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