Origin of Iridescent Colors on the Indigo Snake

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Science  05 Jan 1968:
Vol. 159, Issue 3810, pp. 97-98
DOI: 10.1126/science.159.3810.97-a


In the indigo snake, a pattern of undulating lines on the surface of the skin, formed by the junction of rows of cells, acts as a two-dimensional optical diffraction grating to produce the play of colors. The distance between repetitive units of the pattern measured from observations made with an electron microscope are in agreement with those found by spectrometric analysis.