Beetles, Bubbles, and Butterflies: The Origins of Iridescence

Robert Greenler — Change the angle and a drab butterfly displays a wash of brilliant blue; the vibrant green of a beetle turns a rich blue; and the intense red of the ruby-throated humming disappears. Almost like magic, in this video as in the world at large, “nature’s jewels” shimmer about us in feathers, in butterfly wings, in spider webs, and in shells whose colors record a like history of the animal who built them.