RESEARCH: The changing vision of the Jewel Beetle 

A March 2023 study says that the Jewel Beetle evolves its vision to see new colours.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota in America are studying the Jewel Beetle, known for its elytron (shell) of vivid, iridescent, and metallic colours.

The Jewel Beetle is an insect in the Buprestidae family of wood-boring beetles. It has large, well-developed eyes, and scientists in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota want to learn about its vision. 

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Anna’s Hummingbird

The Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) is a medium-sized bird in the Trochilidae family of hummingbirds.

The Anna’s Hummingbird has iridescent bronze-green feathers on its back, with a pale-grey chest and belly, and green sides. The adult male has an iridescent crimson-red to reddish-pink crown. Its tail is dark and slightly forked. It has a long, thin, straight beak. The female is also iridescent, but not as brilliant as the male. She has a dull-green crown. 

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RESEARCH: The Hummingbird is the most colourful bird in the world

A research study published in June 2022 in the Communications Biology journal found that the Hummingbird species, collectively, is more colourful than any other type of bird.

One way to measure colourfulness is to consider the theoretical total number of colours a bird can detect, and then estimate how many of these colours are produced on the feathers of the bird. Most birds can see more colours than humans can see because birds have extra receptors in their eyes to detect light in the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of colour. Using this method, a 2011 study published in the Behavioral Ecology journal by researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and Yale University in America, found that birds typically produce on their feathers only about 30% of the colours they see. 

In this new 2022 study, Gabriela Venable at the Duke University in North Carolina, America, and her researchers, looked at 114 species of Hummingbirds. It is the first time that a group of related birds have been studied in relation to colourfulness.

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Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil

The Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil (Polydrusus sericeus and Polydrusus formosus) is a small insect in the Curculionidae family of broad-nosed weevils.

The Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil has brilliant, iridescent, metallic, light-green scales. Underneath the scales, is a black body, which will show if the scales drop off. It has a down-curved snout (nose) that can get into flowers and plants. It has bent, clubbed-shaped antennae. It has a head with large eyes, a thorax with six legs, and an oval-shaped abdomen with ridged lines from thorax to tail.

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Meleager’s Blue Butterfly

The Meleager’s Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus daphnis versicolor) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.

The male and female Meleager’s Blue Butterfly look different. The wings of the male are iridescent bright sky-blue on the upperside and grey-bluish on the underside – with blue at the base. The wings of the female are blue bordered with dark-brown on the upperside and pale brown on the underside. The undersides of the wings are dotted with small black spots encircled by white. The hind (back) wings are scalloped, especially in the females. The body is buff-coloured and hairy. Its antennae are segmented and clubbed at the tip. 

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What is the difference between the Australian Magpie and the Eurasian Magpie?

What is the difference between the Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) and the Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica)?

The Australian Magpie is a bird in the Artamidae family of butcherbirds, whereas the Eurasian or European Magpie is a bird in the Corvidae family of crows. The Australian Magpie is an artamid and the Eurasian Magpie is a corvid. They are both passerine songbirds.

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Common Green Lacewing

The Common Green Lacewing (Chrysoperia carnea) is an insect in the Chrysopidae family of lacewings. 

The Common Green Lacewing is pale green with long, threadlike antennae and compound eyes. It turns yellowish-brown in winter. The wings are delicate and veined (membranous), which makes them look like lace. The wings are also translucent (see through) with a slight iridescent sheen. 

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Rosemary Beetle

The Rosemary Beetle (Chryolina americana) is a small insect in the Chrysomelidae family of leaf beetles. 

The Rosemary Beetle is metallic, iridescent green with purple-brown stripes on its ridged elytra (wing shields), from its pronotum (neck shield) to its tail. It has short wings hidden underneath the elytra. It can fly, but only for short distances. Most tend to walk. It has six little brown legs. Its body is slightly domed with a rounded tail end. It has round, black eyes. Its antennae are light-brown and look like a string of beads. 

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Common Blue Butterfly

The Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.

The Common Blue male has iridescent blue wings above with a thin, black-brown border and white fringe. The female is brown above with blue flecks, like dust, and orange spots. Both the male and the female have a row of red or orange spots along the edge of the hindwing (back wing). 

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Northern Bald Ibis and Chick

The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) is a non-wading bird in the Threskiornithidae family of wading birds. Most ibises are wetland wading birds, living near water sources, but the Northern Bald Ibis is not a wetland wading bird.

It lives and breeds in colonies and flocks of up to 100 individuals. It makes a stick nest high on a cliff ledge to avoid predators. 

The female lays 2-3 eggs. The chicks hatch after about 25 days and gain their feathers within 40-50 days. 

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European Long-Legged Fly

The European Long-Legged Fly (Dolichopus ungulatus) is an insect in the Dolichopodidae family of true flies. 

The European Long-Legged Fly has six long thin legs, but some do not. Its brownish abdomen is long and broad with segments, and it has a pair of smoky-coloured wings with deep veins. It thorax is metallic green. It has large iridescent metallic green-to-blue compound eyes. It has short mouthparts and a bristly head.

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Common Wild Turkey

The Common Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a large bird in the Phasianidae family of pheasants, partridges, francolins, junglefowl, and grouse. It is a galliforme. 

The Common Wild Turkey has black feathers with brown-black and white tail feathers with a roundish body. Its feathers have a brown and green iridescent sheen. It has pale feet with spurs. It has brown eyes. It has wings and can fly for a short distance. 

It has fleshy red nodes or bumps on its head, which are called caruncles. The male turkey has fleshy red skin that hangs from it head, the top of its pale beak, and under its neck. The fleshy part on its forehead that hangs over its beak is called a snood. The fleshy part under its chin is called a wattle or dewlap. 

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Common Pheasant

The Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is a large game bird. It is also called the Ring-Necked Pheasant.

The Common Pheasant can be various colours, from white to black. It is generally gold or coppery-red and chestnut-brown with an iridescent sheen of green and purple. It has a white neck ring. It has a long, black tail, flecked with brown feathers. Its wings are white or cream with black bars. Its head is dark-green with a small crest and a distinctive red wattle. The female is dull brown. 

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