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, 73 (4 Pt 1), 041916

Optical Properties of the Iridescent Organ of the Comb-Jellyfish Beroë Cucumis (Ctenophora)

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Optical Properties of the Iridescent Organ of the Comb-Jellyfish Beroë Cucumis (Ctenophora)

Victoria Welch et al. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys.

Abstract

Using transmission electron microscopy, analytical modeling, and detailed numerical simulations, the iridescence observed from the comb rows of the ctenophore Beroë cucumis was investigated. It is shown that the changing coloration which accompanies the beating of comb rows as the animal swims can be explained by the weakly-contrasted structure of the refractive index induced by the very coherent packing of locomotory cilia. The colors arising from the narrow band-gap reflection are shown to be highly saturated and, as a function of the incidence angle, cover a wide range of the visible and ultraviolet spectrum. The high transparency of the structure at the maximal bioluminescence wavelength is also explained.

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