Festival of colours: 21 outrageously colourful birds, insects and animals in nature

Bush Vipers are a class of snakes found only in tropical subsaharan Africa. Many species have isolated and fragmented distributions since they are confined only to rain forests. Image courtesy: WWF
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Bush Vipers are a class of snakes found only in tropical subsaharan Africa. Many species have isolated and fragmented distributions since they are confined only to rain forests. Image courtesy: WWF

Mandarinfish are native to the Pacific Ocean from the Ryukyu Island south to Australia. It is one of only two vertebrate species known to have this brilliant blue colour because of a cellular pigment. Image: Pinterest/pamelap
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Mandarinfish are native to the Pacific Ocean from the Ryukyu Island south to Australia. It is one of only two vertebrate species known to have this brilliant blue colour because of a cellular pigment. Image: Pinterest/pamelap

The Peacock mantis shrimp, also known as the harlequin mantis shrimp or the painted mantis shrimp or the clown mantis shrimp are a brightly-coloured crustacean species found in the warm shallow waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Image: Tumblr/Monterey Bay Aquarium
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The Peacock mantis shrimp, also known as the harlequin mantis shrimp or the painted mantis shrimp or the clown mantis shrimp are a brightly-coloured crustacean species found in the warm shallow waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Image: Tumblr/Monterey Bay Aquarium

Indian Bullfrogs may not look like much… till mating season comes around. Both genders change drastically from a dull khaki-olive-green to brightly-coloured yellow and blue hues. The males put on their good suits to woo she-bullfrogs. Image: Pinterest/Ankush Naik
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Indian Bullfrogs may not look like much… till mating season comes around. Both genders change drastically from a dull khaki-olive-green to brightly-coloured yellow and blue hues. The males put on their good suits to woo she-bullfrogs. Image: Pinterest/Ankush Naik

Dominant male Agama lizards display bright colours, prominent during the mating season. All the other members appear dull and pale. When resting or threatened, the kingpin will turn brown like the others. But while basking in the sun, it becomes vibrant again, occupying the best spot in the area followed by his subordinate males and then the females. Image: Pinterest/AnimalSake
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Dominant male Agama lizards display bright colours, prominent during the mating season. All the other members appear dull and pale. When resting or threatened, the kingpin will turn brown like the others. But while basking in the sun, it becomes vibrant again, occupying the best spot in the area followed by his subordinate males and then the females. Image: Pinterest/AnimalSake

Cecropia moths are silkworms that have lovely red bodies, black to brown wings and bands of white, red, and tan when they mature. The cecropia caterpillar eats leaves of many trees and shrubs, but the moth doesn’t eat – at all. Its only purpose is to mate, so its no surprise that It lives for only a few weeks. Image: Flickr
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Cecropia moths are silkworms that have lovely red bodies, black to brown wings and bands of white, red, and tan when they mature. The cecropia caterpillar eats leaves of many trees and shrubs, but the moth doesn’t eat – at all. Its only purpose is to mate, so its no surprise that It lives for only a few weeks. Image: Flickr

The Blue Ringed Octopus gets its name for the circular, iridescent blue markings that are displayed when the animal feels threatened and is about to release its poison to paralyse its target. If the octopus is relaxed, it is a beige or pale brown colour. These octopuses are a common sighting in Australian beaches, and are the size of a fingernail when born! Image courtesy: kidsnews.au
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The Blue Ringed Octopus gets its name for the circular, iridescent blue markings that are displayed when the animal feels threatened and is about to release its poison to paralyse its target. If the octopus is relaxed, it is a beige or pale brown colour. These octopuses are a common sighting in Australian beaches, and are the size of a fingernail when born! Image courtesy: kidsnews.au

Mandrills are, by a mile, the primate with the most colorful butt of all. It (the mandrill) is the largest non-ape primate and arguably the most colourful. While present in both sexes, the colours are much more vibrant in males. (Can't look away!) Image: Wikimedia Commons
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Mandrills are, by a mile, the primate with the most colorful butt of all. It (the mandrill) is the largest non-ape primate and arguably the most colourful. While present in both sexes, the colours are much more vibrant in males. (Can't look away!) Image: Wikimedia Commons

Poison Dart Frogs are considered one of Earth's most toxic, or poisonous, species. Those colorful designs tell potential predators,
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Poison Dart Frogs are considered one of Earth's most toxic, or poisonous, species. Those colorful designs tell potential predators, "I'm toxic. Don't eat me." Scientists think poison dart frogs get their toxicity from some of the insects they eat. They live in the rain forests of Central and South America. Image courtesy: Reid Park Zoo

Meet the peacock spider. Males from several species within this group of spiders put on remarkable mating displays to win over mates of the opposite gender. This diva of an insect-dancer lifts up its tail-flap – which, once unfurled, resembles a stunning carpet from the likes of Orissa or Jaipur. Image: Flickr
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Meet the peacock spider. Males from several species within this group of spiders put on remarkable mating displays to win over mates of the opposite gender. This diva of an insect-dancer lifts up its tail-flap – which, once unfurled, resembles a stunning carpet from the likes of Orissa or Jaipur. Image: Flickr

Chromodoris lochi is a colorful species of sea slug. This marine gastropod-mollusk is blue or blueish-white with three dark longitudinal lines running down its middle. Not having a shell, they have been compensated without other adaptations, including camouflage. Image: Facebook/Starfish
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Chromodoris lochi is a colorful species of sea slug. This marine gastropod-mollusk is blue or blueish-white with three dark longitudinal lines running down its middle. Not having a shell, they have been compensated without other adaptations, including camouflage. Image: Facebook/Starfish

The Paradise Tanager is a quintessential, spectacular multicolored bird. It delights visiting birders that come calling to the Amazon basin, where it forages for food in the evergreen forests. Image: Cornell Lab/Neotropical Birds
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The Paradise Tanager is a quintessential, spectacular multicolored bird. It delights visiting birders that come calling to the Amazon basin, where it forages for food in the evergreen forests. Image: Cornell Lab/Neotropical Birds

The lilac-breasted roller is an African member of the roller family of birds. These birds don’t show sexual dimorphism, or differences in their males and females in appearance, except for males being marginally larger. They prefer open woodland and savanna, and are mostly absent in treeless places. Image: Pinterest/Lee Hunter
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The lilac-breasted roller is an African member of the roller family of birds. These birds don’t show sexual dimorphism, or differences in their males and females in appearance, except for males being marginally larger. They prefer open woodland and savanna, and are mostly absent in treeless places. Image: Pinterest/Lee Hunter

The Blue Dragon is a species of sea slug that goes by many names – blue angel, blue glaucus, blue ocean slug (and in an odd twist that doesn't reflect its striking sapphire color) the sea swallow. Their coloration comes in handy when they float on the ocean surface, with the blue side facing upward to camouflage it against the blue of the sea, while the silver side faces downward to camouflage it against the bright surface of the water. Image: Wikimedia Commons
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The Blue Dragon is a species of sea slug that goes by many names – blue angel, blue glaucus, blue ocean slug (and in an odd twist that doesn't reflect its striking sapphire color) the sea swallow. Their coloration comes in handy when they float on the ocean surface, with the blue side facing upward to camouflage it against the blue of the sea, while the silver side faces downward to camouflage it against the bright surface of the water. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The violet-backed starling also known as the plum-coloured or amethyst starling, is a small species (17 cm) while the males (in picture) are way, way more attractive than the females. The violet-backed starling is a sexually dimorphic species in which the males possess an iridescent violet back while the females are brown. They are found in woodland and savannah forest edges of sub-Saharan Africa. Image: Wikipedia
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The violet-backed starling also known as the plum-coloured or amethyst starling, is a small species (17 cm) while the males (in picture) are way, way more attractive than the females. The violet-backed starling is a sexually dimorphic species in which the males possess an iridescent violet back while the females are brown. They are found in woodland and savannah forest edges of sub-Saharan Africa. Image: Wikipedia

These striking-looking crustaceans are blue lobsters. Among fisherfolk, it's traditionally considered to be a sign of good fortune to catch one. The probability of lobsters having this colouring is touted as being one in two million, but scientists still aren’t quite sure how rare they are. Image: Aqua.org
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These striking-looking crustaceans are blue lobsters. Among fisherfolk, it's traditionally considered to be a sign of good fortune to catch one. The probability of lobsters having this colouring is touted as being one in two million, but scientists still aren’t quite sure how rare they are. Image: Aqua.org

This grasshopper looks like it jumped right out of one of those “paint-by-numbers” pages with all those colours! Really though, it’s called a Rainbow Grasshopper or Painted Grasshopper. It is native to the United States, Canada and northern Mexico and turns colourful when threatened. Image: Project Noah
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This grasshopper looks like it jumped right out of one of those “paint-by-numbers” pages with all those colours! Really though, it’s called a Rainbow Grasshopper or Painted Grasshopper. It is native to the United States, Canada and northern Mexico and turns colourful when threatened. Image: Project Noah

Gartersnakes comes in a variety of colours, but all share the pattern of stripes that run down their length. They can grow to over one metre in length. These snakes are habitat generalists – findings nooks in forests, shrublands, wetlands, fields and rocky areas in Canada without any apparent preference. Image: Reddit/aozamekun
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Gartersnakes comes in a variety of colours, but all share the pattern of stripes that run down their length. They can grow to over one metre in length. These snakes are habitat generalists – findings nooks in forests, shrublands, wetlands, fields and rocky areas in Canada without any apparent preference. Image: Reddit/aozamekun

The Atlantic Portuguese man o' war, also known as the man-of-war, is a marine hydrozoan found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the sole species in its genus family in the animal kingdom because of how unique the animal is – they are siphonophores, animals made up of a colony of individual organisms working together. The man-of-war is made up of four such “polyps”. Image: Alamy
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The Atlantic Portuguese man o' war, also known as the man-of-war, is a marine hydrozoan found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the sole species in its genus family in the animal kingdom because of how unique the animal is – they are siphonophores, animals made up of a colony of individual organisms working together. The man-of-war is made up of four such “polyps”. Image: Alamy

Bee-eaters are a brightly coloured, gregarious, and flamboyant bunch. They are fast and fierce as a missile when it comes to scoring a meal. They also have some of the most complex social behaviours seen in birds of any species. Image: Wikimedia Commons
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Bee-eaters are a brightly coloured, gregarious, and flamboyant bunch. They are fast and fierce as a missile when it comes to scoring a meal. They also have some of the most complex social behaviours seen in birds of any species. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Cephea or Crown jellyfish swim with their umbrella-shaped bell top, which lends it its name. These are one of the most venomous jellyfish species despite 95-99 percent of their bodies being just water. They usually live in the depths of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans where it is cold, and swim upwards to catch prey at night. Image credit: Alexander Semenov
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Cephea or Crown jellyfish swim with their umbrella-shaped bell top, which lends it its name. These are one of the most venomous jellyfish species despite 95-99 percent of their bodies being just water. They usually live in the depths of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans where it is cold, and swim upwards to catch prey at night. Image credit: Alexander Semenov



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