Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nature in Brilliant Blues


Nature Looks Beautiful in Blue

Blue is my favorite color. Yet, other than the obvious - the sky and the effect it has on how we see water on Earth - there is a surprising lack of blue in nature. There are very few blue plants or flowers that haven't been modified by humans, no genuinely blue mammals and and no naturally blue foods (blueberries aren't actually blue in anything but name). Even blue eyes are rarer than other colors across the animal kingdom! For that reason, it's particularly special to find examples of brilliant blue on nature's great canvas. Here is a collection of some of the most beautiful...

1. Bluebells decorate forests across the UK with beautiful waves of blue every spring. There are few more romantic sights in the countryside than a hidden bluebell wood.

2. The Mazarine Blue Butterfly (or Polyommatus semiargus) is widely distributed across Europe, Asia and North Africa and have even been found in Antartica. The males have deep blue wings, to attract brown females.

3. A sea of 4.5 million baby blue eye (or nemophila) flowers provide one of the many attractions at Japan's stunning Hitachi Seaside Park.

4. This beautiful bird is the splendid fairywren, native to arid regions of Australia. Male adults display the bright blue plumage, and use pink and purple petals to attract female mates. They are known for being polygamous and sexually promiscuous.

5. Vellela ,or by-the-wind-sailors, are a species of jellyfish know for regularly washing up along the coast of California. They glow a bright blue  shade, making for a spectacular marine sight.

6. Wintery conditions combined with a helpful angle of light, create incredible blue ice caves in glacial regions, such as this one in Skatafell, Iceland.

7. The stunning purple and blue hues of these plants provide a visual tonic for any visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee.

8. The blue Malayan coral snake is beautifully blue but highly venomous, and largely feeds on other snakes in the rainforests of south-east Asia. It's not one you would want to encounter, but luckily its color makes it stand out.

9. The common blue damselfly measures up to lengths of 35mm when fully grown, and can be found in every country in Europe with the exception of Iceland. They usually inhabit areas around ponds, rivers or lakes.

10. There are several different examples of blue lobsters, including the European common lobster, which is blue when alive, but red when cooked and a mutated form of the American lobster, where the blue exoskeleton is provided by overly large amounts of protein.

11. Texas blue bonnets are much loved in the state from which they take their name, and bloom between mid-March and mid-April, depending on the temperature.

12. The blue lava that spews out of Kawah Ijen, a volcano in Java, Indonesia is a perfect indicator of nature's great power.

13. Paracanthurus hepatus is a species of surgeonfish with a striking blue body, a yellow tail and a black 'palette' design. Although they are found in small numbers in various spots around the world, they are not common anywhere.

14. The Himalayan blue poppy is one of the few genuinely blue flowers in the world. They are found in northern states of the USA including Alaska, where moist, compost-rich soil allows for their special growth. It is extremely difficult to grow them in gardens elsewhere and most gardeners fail if they try.

15. The Kingfisher is an iconic bird, native to every major continent on the planet. Their distinctive blue and orange plumage has made them a favorite  subject for photographers and artists around the world.

16. Winter's frosts bring beautiful blue tones to landscapes across the world, especially when mixed with the evening light as pictured along this forest road.

17. There are species of poisonous blue frogs in existence, but others this common tree frog are mutant versions of their more widely known green brothers, with the unusual but beautiful coloring attributed to missing pigment in their skin.

18. Speaking of poisonous blue frogs, the most famous of all is the blue poison dart frog. In most cases, it is not beneficial for creatures to be blue, which probably explains why there aren't many blue animals. But if you have poisonous skin and want to warn off predators, then blue is a very handy color to be!

19. Baby blue eye flowers look just as fantastic when seen close up...

20. Of course when blue eyes are found in the animal kingdom, they are nothing short of stunning, as proven by this cat.

21. The proudest of all of nature's blue creations is of course the peacock. many of the other creatures on this list, they are iconic in their own right and instantly memorable for their predominantly blue plumage and flamboyant feathers.

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