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Colourful living

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I was in the Lake District, which was wonderful. I love the Lakes for so many reasons, and the views and vibrancy of the colourful backdrop contributed to making this time even more special. Appreciating the small things and special moments in life makes for memories I wouldn’t swap for the world )).

At one point I came across a tiny grass snake, a really beautiful little thing. Even at such a small size it had the bright yellow markings behind the head so characteristic of the species (pictured). The use of colour in nature is a fascinating subject for me, whether it be the markings on a snake, a tropical frogs’ bright iris or even it’s infra-red reflecting skin pigment.  

Recently I have been co-supervising one of our 3rd year students’ projects that focuses on the use of colour in female Anolis lizards. It was the focus of a project by Olivia Spencer (pictured), who started as one of our volunteers and later wanted to conduct her research in the department as part of her Zoology Degree. Although the use of colour and the use of it in the dewlaps of such lizards is well-known in males, the use in relation to female territoriality has not been investigated. Olivia found that not only do females use their colourful dewlaps in female/female situations (pictured below), but they also drastically change their body colour depending upon dominance. Interesting stuff!

Colour in nature has also been the subject for the development of one of our key Secondary and post 16 science education sessions here at the Museum by our Lead Educator Dr Alexa Jeanes. These are really superb sessions that form part of a fantastic offering by The Manchester Museum at this level *. This session draws upon the expertise of the department and some superb specimens within of our live collection.  After being successfully trialed last year * they are now fully available for school bookings. To find out more about this particular session please Click Here

2 Responses

  1. The yellow necklace of the little grass snake is very pretty. I find the study of females using colors to be fascinating. A recent topic of discussion has been the colorfulness of males as compared to the rather drab colors of females in nature. My opinion is that the beauty of less color is an attraction.

  2. Beautiful creatures!

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