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238 votes

Why are so few foods blue?

Short answer Blue color is not only rare in edible organisms - Blue color is rare in both the animal and plant Kingdoms in general. In animals, blue coloring is generated through structural optic ...
AliceD's user avatar
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130 votes

Why are so few foods blue?

Although @AliceD's answer is a great simple demonstration of the rarity of blue in our natural world, there's likely a more nuanced/technical reason. Short answer Blue light was the most available ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Why is carotene in carrots?

Carrot (Daucus carota) is a biannual plant that accumulates massive amounts of carotenoid pigments in the storage root. The root of the carrot was not orange before domestication. Although the ...
KingBoomie's user avatar
  • 2,390
11 votes

Why is chlorophyll green? Isn't there a more energetically favorable color?

The reason that chlorophyll is green is because it absorbs other colors of light such as red and blue, so in a way the green light is reflected out since the pigment does not absorb it. Because life ...
Ebbinghaus's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

The colour of aquatic plants found deep under oceans

You're right that certain wavelengths of light are more capable of penetrating deeper depths of water. However, it turns out, blue light typically travels to deeper depths than all other visible ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

What pigment is responsible for the formation of blue skin color in some animals?

Blue coloration in animals is caused by structural color rather than blue pigments. In the case of vervet monkeys and other mammals studied this is due to collagen fibers in the skin being arranged ...
tyersome's user avatar
  • 5,598
6 votes

Why are so few foods blue?

It is not that there are no blue foods, it is that the English language does not like calling foods "blue". There are no natural borders between "colors" in a colorspace, all colors we name (and ...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 3,372
6 votes
Accepted

Can cysteine alone change pigmentation?

Surprisingly, it is indeed possible! But, the fact is that the actual process is a bit more complex and might actually require more compounds along with cysteine to give such effects in living beings. ...
another 'Homo sapien''s user avatar
5 votes

Why is there no symmetry in pigmentation when comparing people north and south of the equator?

I rather would say that the lack of North/South Symmetry in pigmentation is that we forget how quickly human beings have spread. In prehistory, people have come to populate every continent over ...
shigeta's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

How does the color of henna fade?

It doesn't become volatile nor is it degraded. Neither is really possible because the dye (lawsone) forms very strong bonds with protein molecules and also penetrates the skin quite well [source: here]...
theforestecologist's user avatar
4 votes

A strand of my hair has a grey section in the middle, how is this possible? And why does it happen?

Your hair gets its color from a compound known as melanin, produced by special cells called melanocytes. There are two versions of melanin - one that produces dark pigmentation and the other that ...
Kate's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
Accepted

What would cause a single white eyelash?

What Causes Hair to Have Colour and How is Colour Lost? The colour of hair is due to the presence of melanin, which may be found as eumelanin or pheomelanin. Melanin is produced by melanocytes and is ...
Jam's user avatar
  • 1,506
3 votes

Why do most plants reflect green and others other colors?

All photosynthetic plants contain chlorophyll, and chlorophyll is green (leaving out various algae). Plant leaves often contain other pigments, which can mask the chlorophyll's green, or be masked by ...
jamesqf's user avatar
  • 3,643
3 votes

Why does hair turn grey or white, and why does it happen later for some?

Stress has finally been definitively shown to be a cause of graying hair. As such, delay or acceleration of onset could be due to stress. Work by Zhang et al. (2020) (postdoc in Ya-Chieh Hsu's lab ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
2 votes

Why do some Brown Pelicans have orange or reddish parts on their bills?

After doing some reading at the Birds of North America webpage on Brown Pelicans. It does mention orange on the bill outside of the breeding season. Brown Pelicans have a greenish gray bill once they ...
JC11's user avatar
  • 593
2 votes

What determines the colors and patterns of a clam shell?

We were wondering the same thing after a day at the seaside. It's apparently pretty complicated. Here are a couple of articles I found about it. https://academic.oup.com/mollus/article/72/2/157/...
Stacey's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
Accepted

Why do we see black when we close our eyelids?

the cone cell in the eye allows you to see different colors, and it only function in an illuminated environment, and function less in a less illuminated area. when your eyes is closed totally ...
mikky 's user avatar
  • 36
2 votes

Are there animals which produce their own colour pigments`?

Although no expert in this field, I think this question is interesting and I would like to put forward some tentative answers. In a general evolutionary sense one might regard coloration as a ...
David's user avatar
  • 26.1k
2 votes
Accepted

What do animal cells store pigment in?

Melanine is produced and stored in melanocytes. They contain melanosomes that are organelles that store melanine.
AliceD's user avatar
  • 52.5k
2 votes
Accepted

Myoglobin in meat

Myoglobin is a protein made in muscle cells. It is similar to hemoglobin, a protein made by blood cells. The answer you linked helps explain the difference, which it sounds like you understand. The ...
De Novo's user avatar
  • 8,811
2 votes
Accepted

What is "beto carotene" and how can it turn lakes pink?

The "beto" is a typing mistake. Beta is an organic chemistry label referring to a beta-ring of 6 carbons that exists at either end of a carotenoid polymer C40-Hx. It is localized in the chloroplast. ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
  • 10.4k
2 votes
Accepted

How does bacteriorhodopsin differ from the rhodopsin present in mammalian eyes?

Although they are similar in both bacteriorhodopsins and rhodopsins being retinal-binding proteins, the similarity in their amino acid sequence is very limited. The key difference between them is ...
Imtiaz Raqib's user avatar
  • 1,278
2 votes

Why do dragonflies lose all of their coloration once they die?

This is probably because the color in dragon fly wing is due to chitin crystal and which is protected by some secretion over the entire wing something like cuticle upon leaves and when dragon fly dies ...
daemon's user avatar
  • 152
2 votes

Do any animals mix porphyrins and carotenoids in their pigmentation?

Yes. Here is one example of an annelid worm that does this: Altogether, the endogenous porphyrinoid pigments of E. viridis appear to be similar in function and origin to the coloured bile pigments of ...
Maximilian Press's user avatar
1 vote

Why is melanin black?

Let's do a quick mind experiment. Imagine a ray of UV light hitting a white molecule in the skin. White generally reflects light, so that UV light would bounce off, and potentially could hit something ...
Astrolamb's user avatar
  • 511
1 vote

How can individual strands of coat hair have only a single color when considering codominance?

The gene isn't specified here, but the general idea expressed is variegation. There are individual hairs (it could be larger regions) that are controlled by one of the two genes, but there is some ...
Mike Serfas's user avatar
  • 2,485
1 vote

How can individual strands of coat hair have only a single color when considering codominance?

The terms dominance/recessivity, additivity, co-dominance, incomplete dominance, etc... express a relationship between genotypes and phenotypes but the mechanism behind this relationship is not being ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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