In nature, we find all kinds of animals. Some with cute little faces, others that scare us, some huge, and others so small that we can barely see them. Some with a single color and others so colorful that we are amazed by so much beauty. In this article, we’re going to get to know a little bit about 5 of the most colorful animals in the world and we’re going to try to find out what their colorful appearance is for. Come with us! Enjoy reading and have fun!
Animals coloring roles
You may have heard that when it comes to frogs, the most colorful ones are the most poisonous. This is also said about snakes, although it is not always true. But is that the only role of animals coloring, warning about their toxicity? No, that’s not all it’s for, and colors in animals have different roles, let’s see some:
- Camouflage – for example, chameleon.
- The attraction of mating partners – for example, peacock.
- Mimicry – when an animal imitates the coloring of another as a form of protection. Example: false coral snake.
- Aposematism or warning coloration – example: frogs of the genus Phyllobates.
Peacock spider (Maratus volans)
Even those who are terrified of spiders will find this cute. This tiny member of our most colorful animals in the world list, measures about 4-5 millimeters (yes, millimeters), fits on the tip of our finger, and, in its species, only males are colored. When that happens in nature, usually the colors are to attract mates to mating. This is the case with the peacock spider. The male displays vibrant colors and quite varied patterns. In addition to the colorful appearance, they also dance full of movements to show off and win the female.
To date, only 8 specimens have been identified, this is due to their size and thus it is very difficult to find. They are native to Australia and live only there.
Fun fact about the peacock spider: the meaning of “volans” in its scientific name is “flying”, this is because when they were discovered it was believed that the wings they have were intended for flight, which was later denied in other studies.
Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)
The panther chameleon is one of the most colorful animals in the world and one of the most beautiful. It is originally from Madagascar, lives there, and also in Reunion and Mauritius. Males can measure 20 inches while females reach a maximum of half that. In addition to the difference in size, females also differ in coloration: they are usually found in orange, brown, pink, or peach tones.
Their behavior is solitary and territorial, except during the mating season. Their colors serve for communication and mating. To win the female, the male panther chameleon presents more intense colors, in contrast, the female shows a receptive color ‘informing’ that she is ready for mating. When she is already pregnant (with eggs), she tends to show brownish tones to indicate to other males that she has already mated.
This species of chameleon, as we have already said, is very territorial and due to this, they sometimes fight bloodthirsty battles to defend their area. Before that, they communicate with the invader through their colors, making it more intense. In case it’s not enough, they come to blows! Is it because they are so quarrelsome that their conservation status in nature is not concerning?
Fun fact about the panther chameleon: they are specialized in hunting insects with their tongue and when they ‘project’ it can reach a speed of 1.600 kilometers per hour (Km/h). Amazing, isn’t it?!
Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus)
The golden pheasant, another member of our most colorful animals in the world list, – also known as Chinese pheasant – originates from China, where it inhabits forests in mountainous areas, however, due to its beauty, it can currently be found almost all over the world, as it attracts the interest of breeders. This is a very controversial fact, as biologists usually disapprove of the introduction of exotic birds in different environments, mainly in nature.
The male measures around 3 feet in length, and its tail represents almost two-thirds of its total size. In this species, the female, in addition to being smaller, measuring between 23 and 32 inches, is not colored like the male, who uses its colors to attract her for mating.
Its lifespan reaches 15 years and its conservation status is not concerning.
Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
And since we’re talking about Asian birds, let’s talk a little about the Mandarin duck. Did you already know it? If not yet, let’s get to know a little bit.
The Mandarin duck is of Asian origin, easily found in China, Russia, and Japan. But, as in the case of the golden pheasant mentioned above, due to its extreme beauty, it ended up becoming popular in several other countries. It is also called “the far east rainbow” or “the Yin-Yang duck”.
For the Chinese, listed as one of the most colorful animals in the world, is a symbol of love and fidelity. How cute, right? ♥ Do you know why? Well, they are monogamous and live their whole lives with just one partner. The male is committed to defending the female, guarding the nest while she hatches, and after the ducklings are born, he remains just as vigilant and careful with his partner.
The Mandarin duck is yet another case where only the male of the species is colorful and uses his vibrant colors to attract the female for mating. They can measure 19 inches and weigh a maximum of 1.50 pounds.
Fortunately, its conservation status is of little concern, that is, it is not endangered according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Brazilian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria)
The Brazilian rainbow boa, also known as Western Rainbow Boa or just Rainbow Boa, reddish-purple coloring and with a very evident iridescent feature, is one of the four rainbow boas found in Brazil. The other three are:
- Caatinga rainbow boa (Epicrates assisi) – this is endemic to Brazil (found ONLY there)
- Eastern rainbow boa (Epicrates crassus);
- Brown/Colombian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates maurus).
In common to all there is the phenomenon of iridescence, which is what makes the colors of this snake so special. “Crystalline components (guanine crystals) that accumulate in the scales of these snakes work like a prism and decompose the light of the sun’s ray into different colors of the rainbow, which gives the name to the species of the genus”, explains the biologist Rodrigo Castellari Gonzalez, an expert in snakes and Researcher at the Museu de História Natural do Ceará (Museum of Natural History of Ceará), at the Universidade Estadual do Ceará (Ceará State University) and at the Museu Nacional/UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro National Museum).
The Brazilian rainbow boa is non-venomous, has nocturnal habits, and kills its prey through constriction. By the way, did you know that snakes that use constriction to kill do not aim to break the bones of their prey, but to asphyxiate them? That’s why they constrict so hard until they can’t breathe anymore. Interesting, isn’t it?!
Their diet is based on small mammals, rodents, lizards, and some birds. This boa belongs to the same family as anacondas and is considered relatively small, measuring 5 to 6.55 feet in length.
The rainbow boa, also listed as one of the most colorful animals in the world, is also not endangered, according to the IUCN. Wonderful news, isn’t it? ♥
Nature gives animals varied ways to defend themselves, to live, to win partners, and so on. The colorful appearance is just one of them. Knowing the animals, some facts and how rich the wildlife is, makes us stop and think that we must always fight to protect it, don’t you agree? That’s why we here at Proto Animal always try to bring fun and pertinent information and our goal is this: to spread nature so that the more people who know about it, they can protect it too.
Take a look at our article categories and follow along, we’re always looking for more information to pass on.
Leave a comment in the field below, tell us if you liked to know about some of the most colorful animals in the world.
Until next time!