A Riot of Color Lurking in the Amazon – Facts So Romantic

Imagine a tropical rainforest and the picture that appears in your mind’s eye is probably filled with green and brown. It’s true that those colors dominate the landscape, but a closer look at some of the jungle’s inhabitants reveals tremendous variation. I just returned from a trip to the Amazon, and here are some of the more creatively colored animals I found, representing practically every part of the rainbow.

Red, as in, stop

In nature, bright colors usually mean “stay away.” Bugs that might taste good to birds usually rely on camouflage to avoid being found and gobbled up. Those that taste nasty can instead boldly advertise their unpalatability, like this butterfly that appears to sport an “88” on its back.

In the late 1980s, a pair of Brazilian lepidopterists tempted a group of birds called tyrant flycatchers with a variety of butterflies, including this species. As expected, most of the birds didn’t bother chasing after the red-shouldered Diaethria clymena butterflies that were released nearby. Only 14 percent of birds bothered catching one, and in most cases they spit it right out. The butterflies flapped away to take cover,…

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