“You are what you eat”

Many animals in nature use color to warn their predators or to hide for protection, but this use of colors was not always present in nature. Animals had to evolve and adapt in order to be able to use their given pigmentation to survive. Such as a red prey hiding in red seaweed or a scaring away its predator with its red pigmentation. Many generations later, animals evolved into having fins, feathers, and fur with colors that covered all of the rainbow spectrum as mentioned by Rae Ellen Bichell.

For many animals, their coloration comes from color pigmentation which is “colored chemicals, that absorb certain wavelengths of light” (Rae Ellen Bichell). Animals, in addition, achieved the ability to take color pigments from plants, digesting it, and modifying them to display a version of another pigment on their outer layer. An example in nature of this pigment modification occurs with flamingos. As most people have realized flamingos are pink, but baby flamingos are a very light grey color. What makes flamingos pink as they mature into adulthood is the Carotenoid, a natural pigment, found in the diet of flamingos stated by Rae Ellen Bichell. Flamingos find these in shrimp, crabs, and algae, which essentially shows how “you are what you eat.” Humans also carry this ability, suppose that you were to eat many carrots causing the white part of your eyes to turn pink the same process would be applied.  

Not all animals, however, can take pigmentation and modify it into their own bodies or can modify any color pigmentation. But what is even rarer in nature is to find an animal with blue pigmentation. Most animals we know of are orange, yellow, red, or brown depending greatly on their diet (Joe Hanson). The few animals we encounter in nature that display a tone of blue are certain butterflies, a few frogs, some types of birds, and blue whales who are not that blue. These animals, as a result, do not carry a blue pigmentation in their bodies, but instead, the color blue is reflected from there bodies based on lightwaves reaching their specific skin structure and creating different tones of blue (Joe Hanson). Blue, as a result, is a very rare case in nature and there are very few exceptions for known animals that truly carry a pure blue pigmentation on their bodies such as the Obrian Olivewing (Joe Hanson).

Rae Ellen BichelJoe Hanson

Michelle Bordignon

Michelle Bordignon is a 12th grader. She writes science editorials and is a Project Manager for the Newspaper Team. Her favorite drink is rose water.

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