Humans usually see some pretty flashy colours and identify with them as they live in a world where the pool water is turquoise, the cheese curls are electric orange and the sports drinks and nail polish can be literally any colour. So it might be surprising to learn that animals have clearly outdone humans. There are some of the most eye-catching colours in nature existing in shape of fish, birds, amphibians and even a few insects.
Spanish Dancer sea slug
The Spanish Dancer is one of the largest and most striking sea slugs on the planet. It is found in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea. It moves by undulating its body in an S-shape, which causes the sides of its body to curl like a flamenco dancer’s skirt. The bright colouring is intended as a warning to potential predators that the slug doesn’t taste good and may even be poisonous.
The award for the most distinctive feet in the animal kingdom goes to the blue-footed booby, a seabird native to the Galapagos Islands. The birds with the brightest blue feet are the healthiest and have the easiest time attracting mates. The birds are known for a hypnotic, high-stepping, mirroring courtship dance. Boobies are mostly monogamous, and tend to stay and raise a family with a single mate, sharing parenting responsibilities more or less equally; however, extramarital affairs are also fairly common.
Depending on the season, majestic monarch butterflies range from Canada to the southern tip of South America. Their main food source is the milkweed plant, which is poisonous to most other animals; as a result, the butterflies themselves are poisonous to many potential predators. Like poison dart frogs, they use colour as a giant warning sign. Every fall, millions of monarchs fly from the northern US and Canada to Mexico and South America, one of the animal kingdom’s great migrations. However, climate change and logging in the forests where the butterflies breed are just two of many phenomena threatening the butterflies.
This frog is what it sounds like— a see-through animal. Biologists discovered the hitherto unknown frog species in 2016 in the rainforests of Ecuador. The frogs’ beating hearts are often perfectly visible through their skin. The newly discovered species may already be endangered— its rainforest habitat is threatened by oil exploration.
Rainbow-coloured macaws are native to Central and South America. For centuries, they have been prized as pets because of their colourful feathers and their extraordinary memories; some macaws can learn and repeat hundreds of words! Some species of macaw have become endangered due to trapping for the pet trade and logging in their natural habitats. In the wild, macaws eat nuts, seeds, flowers and small animals such as snails; they stay with one mate all their lives and live up to 60 years.
The rainbow agama is a resilient and adaptable lizard native to West and Central Africa. Agamas live in small groups presided over by a single dominant male, who turns his body blue and his head bright red or yellow as a way of asserting his authority; non-dominant agamas are usually green or brown.
The pink katydid was discovered in 2013 in northern Borneo. Only the females of the species are pink— the males are bright green. Sadly, entomologists may never get time to study the species in depth, as the area of Borneo where they have been discovered is threatened by logging. TW