Many patterns and color combinations that appear out-standing when seen out of context may be very cryptic on the right, natural background. Pigments also protect underlying tissues from radiation damage and play a role in thermoregulation.
Colors of arthropods can be based on several different phenomena:
Transparent epithelia that allow hemolymph or inner organs be visible and therefore to determine the outer appearance. The abdomen of a mosquito is red shortly after a blood meal, and some spiders adopt the color of their prey if they feed on highly pigmented insects. They 'become what they eat', for a short time.
|Crab Spiders of the genus Mecaphesa can adjust their color to their surroundings|
|Pair of Deloyala lecontei which occurs in 2 color morphs|
|Chrysina gloriosa on juniper|
|Chrysis sp. Chrysididae (Cuckoo Wasps)|
|Pipevine Swallowtail - the iridescence will outlast death|
Not to forget: The colors of butterfly wings are also structural, even if they do not usually appear metallic due to the small size of the colorful sub-units, the scales. In some species, however, the arrangement of the scales is such that iridescence is achieved. At the U of A, studies are under way, looking into the importance of these direction dependent flashes of color in the partner choices of our Pipevine Swallowtail.