Spectral and angular distribution of light scattered from the elytra of two carabid beetle species
Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH,
Color in living organisms is primarily generated by two mechanisms: selective absorption by pigments and structural coloration, or a combination of both. In this study, we investigated the coloration of cuticle from the wings (elytra) of the two ground beetle species Carabus auronitens and Carabus auratus. The greenish iridescent color of both species is created by a multilayer structure consisting of periodically alternating layers with different thicknesses and composition which is located in the 1-2 µm thick outermost layer of the cuticle (epicuticle). Illuminated with white light, reflectance spectra in both linear polarisation show an angle-dependent characteristic peak in the blue/green region of the spectrum. Furthermore, the reflected light is polarised linearly. Scattering experiments with laser illumination at 532 nm show diffuse scattering over a larger angular range. The polarisation dependence of the scattered light is consistent with the interpretation of small inhomogeneities as scattering centres in the elytra.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2010