Switchable reflector in the Panamanian tortoise beetle Charidotella egregia (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae)

Jean Pol Vigneron, Jacques M. Pasteels, Donald M. Windsor, Z. Vértesy, Marie Rassart, Thomas Seldrum, Jacques Dumont, Olivier Deparis, Virginie Lousse, L. Bíró, Damien Ertz, Victoria Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The tortoise beetle Charidotella egregia is able to modify the structural color of its cuticle reversibly, when disturbed by stressful external events. After field observations, measurements of the optical properties in the two main stable color states and scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope investigations, a physical mechanism is proposed to explain the color switching of this insect. It is shown that the gold coloration displayed by animals at rest arises from a chirped multilayer reflector maintained in a perfect coherent state by the presence of humidity in the porous patches within each layer, while the red color displayed by disturbed animals results from the destruction of this reflector by the expulsion of the liquid from the porous patches, turning the multilayer into a translucent slab that leaves an unobstructed view of the deeper-lying, pigmented red substrate. This mechanism not only explains the change of hue but also the change of scattering mode from specular to diffuse. Quantitative modeling is developed in support of this analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031907
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 11 2007

Fingerprint

beetles
Reflector
reflectors
color
Patch
Multilayer
Animals
animals
electron microscopes
Scanning Electron Microscope
Humidity
Coherent States
Gold
Microscope
expulsion
insects
Optical Properties
leaves
Substrate
Scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics

Cite this

Switchable reflector in the Panamanian tortoise beetle Charidotella egregia (Chrysomelidae : Cassidinae). / Vigneron, Jean Pol; Pasteels, Jacques M.; Windsor, Donald M.; Vértesy, Z.; Rassart, Marie; Seldrum, Thomas; Dumont, Jacques; Deparis, Olivier; Lousse, Virginie; Bíró, L.; Ertz, Damien; Welch, Victoria.

In: Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, Vol. 76, No. 3, 031907, 11.09.2007.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vigneron, Jean Pol ; Pasteels, Jacques M. ; Windsor, Donald M. ; Vértesy, Z. ; Rassart, Marie ; Seldrum, Thomas ; Dumont, Jacques ; Deparis, Olivier ; Lousse, Virginie ; Bíró, L. ; Ertz, Damien ; Welch, Victoria. / Switchable reflector in the Panamanian tortoise beetle Charidotella egregia (Chrysomelidae : Cassidinae). In: Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics. 2007 ; Vol. 76, No. 3.
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