Among living things, the color blue is oddly rare. Blue rocks, blue sky, blue water, sure. But blue animals? They are few and far between. And the ones that do make blue? They make it in some very strange and special ways compared to other colors. In this video, we’ll look at some very cool butterflies to help us learn how living things make blue, and why this beautiful hue is so rare in nature.

Joe Hanson talks with Smithsonian Curator of Lepidoptera Bob Robbins at the National Museum of Natural History to find out how butterflies use light to communicate, how blue animals are almost always not blue, and what exceptional creature has evolved a blue pigment. Come for the science. Stay for the joke at the very end.

Next: Go inside an ice cave to see nature’s most beautiful blue.

Plus, related listening on NPR: How Animals Hacked The Rainbow And Got Stumped On Blue and more blue morpho butterfly videos on this site: Zoom into a Blue Morpho Butterfly, blue morphos emerge from their chrysalises, and What Gives the Morpho Butterfly Its Magnificent Blue?

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