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Structural color and its interaction with other color-producing elements : perspectives from spiders

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Abstract
Structural color is produced when nanostructures alter light in contrast with pigment-based colors that are produced by selective absorption of certain wavelengths of light. Research on biogenic photonic nanostructures has primarily focused on bird feathers, butterfly wings and beetle elytra, and not diverse groups such as spiders. We argue that spiders are a good model system to study the functions and evolution of colors in nature for the following reasons. First, these colors clearly function in some spiders outside of sexual selection, which is likely the dominant driver of the evolution of structural colors in birds and butterflies. Second, within more than 44,000 currently known spider species, a hugely diverse set of colors is produced using the same materials. Using spiders, we can study how colors evolve to serve different functions under a variety of selective pressures, and how those colors are produced within a relatively simple system. Here, we first review the different color-producing materials and mechanisms ( i.e., light absorbing, reflecting and emitting) in birds, butterflies and beetles, the interactions between these different elements, and the functions of colors in different organisms. We then summarize the current state of knowledge of spider colors and compare it with that of birds and insects. We then raise questions including: 1. Could spiders use fluorescence as a mechanism to protect themselves from UV radiation, if they do not have the biosynthetic pathways to produce melanins? 2. What functions could color serve for nearly blind tarantulas? 3. Why are only multilayer nanostructures ( thus far) found in spiders, while birds and butterflies use many diverse nanostructures? And, does this limit the diversity of structural colors found in spiders? Addressing any of these questions in the future will bring spiders to the forefront of the study of structural colors in nature.
Keywords
structural color, pigment, bird, insect, spider, interference, scattering, diffraction, interaction, biomimicry, BIOLOGICAL PHOTONIC CRYSTALS, BUTTERFLY WING SCALES, JUMPING SPIDERS, FEATHER BARBS, SEXUAL DICHROMATISM, BEETLE SCALES, CRAB-SPIDER, VISION, IRIDESCENCE, PIGMENTS

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Hsiung, Bor-Kai, Todd A Blackledge, and Matthew Shawkey. “Structural Color and Its Interaction with Other Color-producing Elements : Perspectives from Spiders.” Proceedings of SPIE. Ed. R Liang & JA Shaw. Vol. 9187. Bellingham, WA, USA: SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering, 2014. Print.
APA
Hsiung, B.-K., Blackledge, T. A., & Shawkey, M. (2014). Structural color and its interaction with other color-producing elements : perspectives from spiders. In R. Liang & J. Shaw (Eds.), Proceedings of SPIE (Vol. 9187). Presented at the Conference on Nature of Light: Light in Nature V, Bellingham, WA, USA: SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering.
Chicago author-date
Hsiung, Bor-Kai, Todd A Blackledge, and Matthew Shawkey. 2014. “Structural Color and Its Interaction with Other Color-producing Elements : Perspectives from Spiders.” In Proceedings of SPIE, ed. R Liang and JA Shaw. Vol. 9187. Bellingham, WA, USA: SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Hsiung, Bor-Kai, Todd A Blackledge, and Matthew Shawkey. 2014. “Structural Color and Its Interaction with Other Color-producing Elements : Perspectives from Spiders.” In Proceedings of SPIE, ed. R Liang and JA Shaw. Vol. 9187. Bellingham, WA, USA: SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering.
Vancouver
1.
Hsiung B-K, Blackledge TA, Shawkey M. Structural color and its interaction with other color-producing elements : perspectives from spiders. In: Liang R, Shaw J, editors. Proceedings of SPIE. Bellingham, WA, USA: SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering; 2014.
IEEE
[1]
B.-K. Hsiung, T. A. Blackledge, and M. Shawkey, “Structural color and its interaction with other color-producing elements : perspectives from spiders,” in Proceedings of SPIE, San Diego, CA, USA, 2014, vol. 9187.
@inproceedings{7176531,
  abstract     = {Structural color is produced when nanostructures alter light in contrast with pigment-based colors that are produced by selective absorption of certain wavelengths of light. Research on biogenic photonic nanostructures has primarily focused on bird feathers, butterfly wings and beetle elytra, and not diverse groups such as spiders. We argue that spiders are a good model system to study the functions and evolution of colors in nature for the following reasons. First, these colors clearly function in some spiders outside of sexual selection, which is likely the dominant driver of the evolution of structural colors in birds and butterflies. Second, within more than 44,000 currently known spider species, a hugely diverse set of colors is produced using the same materials. Using spiders, we can study how colors evolve to serve different functions under a variety of selective pressures, and how those colors are produced within a relatively simple system. Here, we first review the different color-producing materials and mechanisms ( i.e., light absorbing, reflecting and emitting) in birds, butterflies and beetles, the interactions between these different elements, and the functions of colors in different organisms. We then summarize the current state of knowledge of spider colors and compare it with that of birds and insects. We then raise questions including: 1. Could spiders use fluorescence as a mechanism to protect themselves from UV radiation, if they do not have the biosynthetic pathways to produce melanins? 2. What functions could color serve for nearly blind tarantulas? 3. Why are only multilayer nanostructures ( thus far) found in spiders, while birds and butterflies use many diverse nanostructures? And, does this limit the diversity of structural colors found in spiders? Addressing any of these questions in the future will bring spiders to the forefront of the study of structural colors in nature.},
  articleno    = {91870B},
  author       = {Hsiung, Bor-Kai and Blackledge, Todd A and Shawkey, Matthew},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings of SPIE},
  editor       = {Liang, R and Shaw, JA},
  isbn         = {9781628412147},
  issn         = {0277-786X},
  keywords     = {structural color,pigment,bird,insect,spider,interference,scattering,diffraction,interaction,biomimicry,BIOLOGICAL PHOTONIC CRYSTALS,BUTTERFLY WING SCALES,JUMPING SPIDERS,FEATHER BARBS,SEXUAL DICHROMATISM,BEETLE SCALES,CRAB-SPIDER,VISION,IRIDESCENCE,PIGMENTS},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {San Diego, CA, USA},
  pages        = {20},
  publisher    = {SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering},
  title        = {Structural color and its interaction with other color-producing elements : perspectives from spiders},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2060831},
  volume       = {9187},
  year         = {2014},
}

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