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Sarcelle d'hiver, Green-winged Teal, Anas crecca, L=36 cm, E=58 cm, P=350 g



            

Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-15


Effet de l'angle d'incidence et de la polarisation sur la lumière réfléchie par les ailes de la Sarcelle d'Hiver

Effects of incident angle and light polarization on specular reflectance of green-winged teal feathers.

The colours of birds are diverse but limited relative to the colours they can perceive. This mismatch may be partially caused by the properties of their colour-production mechanisms. Aside from pigments, several classes of highly ordered nanostructures (thin films, amorphous three-dimensional arrays) can produce a range of colours. However, the variability of any single nanostructural class has rarely been explored. Dabbling ducks are a speciose clade with substantial interspecific variation in the iridescent coloration of their wing patches (specula). Here, we use electron microscopy, spectrophotometry, polarization and refractive index-matching experiments, and optical modelling to examine these colours. We show that, in all species examined, speculum colour is produced by a photonic heterostructure consisting of both a single thin-film of keratin and a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice of melanosomes in feather barbules. Although the range of possible variations of this heterostructure is theoretically broad, only relatively close-packed, energetically stable variants producing more saturated colours were observed, suggesting that ducks are either physically constrained to these configurations or are under selection for the colours that they produce. These data thus reveal a previously undescribed biophotonic structure and suggest that both physical variability and constraints within single nanostructural classes may help explain the broader patterns of colour across Aves.


Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-14


Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-14


Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-22


Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-22


Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-22


Couple, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-22


Mâle nuptial, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-22


Couple, Boucherville (Québec), 2010-04-22


Mâle nuptial, Baie-du-Febvre (Québec), 2004-05-08












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