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Watch the Brilliant Sea Sapphire Appear and Disappear Seamlessly

posted: 07/21/15
by: Discovery.com Staff

The sea sapphire's vanishing act is stunning: the small crustacean appears to seamlessly come and go at its leisure, sporting brilliant iridescent hues across its body between disappearances:

A new study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society sheds more light (pun intended) on the sea sapphire's invisibility cloak: the creature's back is adorned with hexagonal crystal plates, which reflect light to form the stunning colors -- and invisibility. Changes in the spacing of the hexagonal plates resulted in different colors and varying amounts of visibility, according to the study.

"For at least one particular species, when light hits an animal at a 45-degree angle, reflectance shifts out of the visible light range and into the ultraviolet, and it practically disappears," the American Chemical Society explains in a press release.

Click here to learn more from the American Chemical Society

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