Sea mouse (Aphrodita sp.)

Sea mouse (Aphrodita sp.)

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This image is part of the feature Nature's Trick Of The Light

Credit: JAMES KING-HOLMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sea mouse (Aphrodita sp.). This bottom-dwelling marine worm reaches 15-20 centimetres in length and 5 centimetres in width. The entire dorsal surface is covered with hairs known as setae. These are normally red, but produce a strong iridescence under certain directions of light. This is due to each spine acting as a photonic crystal which only reflects light of a specified wavelength. The range of wavelengths prevented from being transmitted is called the band-gap. The sea mouse spine has a band-gap in the red region of the spectrum. However when light falls perpendicular to the spine, different colours such as blues and greens appear. Photonic crystals may find uses in optical computers and telecommunications.

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Keywords: animal, annelid worm, annelida, aphrodita, band gap, biological, biology, bristles, fauna, invertebrate, invertebrates, iridescence, iridescent, marine animal, marine worm, nature, one, photonic band gap, photonic crystal, photonics, polychaeta, polychaete, red light, reflect, reflectance, reflecting, sea mouse, setae, single, spine, spines, wildlife, worm, zoological, zoology

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