Antonia Monteiro weighs in on the colour blue on NPR

Free of teaching (it’s Reading Week), David Bickford was surfing the net, perusing NPR and happy to see colleague Antonia Monteiro quoted in a piece about blue color in animals [“How Animals Hacked The Rainbow And Got Stumped On Blue,” by Rae Ellen Bichel. NPR, 12 Nov 2014].


“Everywhere you look, organisms have been inventing different solutions to creating the same color,” says Antonia Monteiro, who studies butterfly wings in Singapore.

Monteiro says a lot of animals use different materials to get the same effect. Butterfly wings are sheathed in reflective scales made of chitin, the same stuff that makes a crab’s shell hard. And a 2012 study found that some birds use bubble-laced keratin (the same stuff that human fingernails are made of) in the barbs of their feathers; it scatters the light from the feather in a way that happens to look blue to humans.

All that blue not pigmented! Head over to the NPR page.

How Animals Hacked The Rainbow And Got Stumped On Blue  Shots  Health News  NPR

Thanks for the alert, David!

From August 2014 on NPR, see also “Butterfly Shifts From Shabby To Chic With A Tweak Of The Scales“.


“The behaviour of giant clams” – Pamela Soo & Peter Todd, 2014

20141120 Pamela Soo

Pamela who has not strayed far from marine life, says, “yay, clams! five years later, and most of the searching and editing on his part, my prof [Peter Todd] has finally found a home for my chunky, lengthy stackofa thesis! all the final year moments of madness distilled into nineteen pages of a scientific journal.”

If you’re keen to peek into the madness, see the paper at” (full download).

Congratulations and thanks Pam and Pete! I’ll be using it in the LSM1103 Biodiversity mollusca lecture myself!

Pamela Soo

Photo by Creative Kids.

Tue 11 Nov 2014: 6.30pm @ Brookhaven – Book Launch of “Dynamic Environments of Singapore” by Dan Friess & Grahame Oliver (NUS Geography)

From Dan Friess in Geography,

On the 11th of November Grahame Oliver and I are having a book launch for our new textbook “Dynamic Environments of Singapore”, which was published earlier this year. I’d like to invite you to attend – there will be copies available for purchase ($30 – bargain!).

Please find the details on the FASS Environment Cluster blog.

20141111 DanFriess book launch

An event co-organized by the FASS Environment Cluster and the Singapore Research Nexus.