Why Is Blue So Rare In Nature?
Duh, except for the sky… and the ocean…
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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.
Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of Natural History
Bob Robbins, Ph.D. - Curator of Lepidoptera
Juan Pablo Hurtado Padilla - Microscope Educator
Richard Prum, Ph.D. - Yale University
Vinothan Manoharan, Ph.D. - Harvard University
Bagnara, J. T., Fernandez, P. J., & Fujii, R. (2007). On the blue coloration of vertebrates. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, 20(1), 14-26.
Cuthill, I. C., Allen, W. L., Arbuckle, K., Caspers, B., Chaplin, G., Hauber, M. E., ... & Mappes, J. (2017). The biology of color. Science, 357(6350), eaan0221.
Kinoshita, S., Yoshioka, S., & Miyazaki, J. (2008). Physics of structural colors. Reports on Progress in Physics, 71(7), 076401.
Kinoshita, S. (2008). Structural colors in the realm of nature. World Scientific.
Prum, R. O., Quinn, T., & Torres, R. H. (2006). Anatomically diverse butterfly scales all produce structural colours by coherent scattering. Journal of Experimental Biology, 209(4), 748-765.
Vukusic, P., & Sambles, J. R. (2003). Photonic structures in biology. Nature, 424(6950), 852-855.
Vukusic, P., Sambles, J. R., Lawrence, C. R., & Wootton, R. J. (1999). Quantified interference and diffraction in single Morpho butterfly scales. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 266(1427), 1403-1411.

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  • It's Okay To Be Smart
    It's Okay To Be Smart

    You never notice how rare blue is, until you do, and then you (don't) see it *everywhere*. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of this week's video! And commence the blue-pun party

    • Fernando Zambrano
      Fernando Zambrano

      @Lily Seminario Regards from Galapagos! Not only that!! BLUE has become a sexual display that will show how good they're doing for mating, although they do not mate forever they do mate for as long as they're able to bring up their chicks, if the hue of their blue feet fades away, they will look for another partner. In a 1993 Study By MARCELA OSORIO-BERISTAIN AND HUGH DRUMMOND from Centro de Ecologia of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, they show how the blue color (influenced directly by the pigments in scales of fish they eat) will determine how able they are to find a mate, if they find enough food , they will show a beautiful bright color, if not, their feet will look rather pale. Come and Visit the Galapagos, see the boobies, penguins, turtle and tortoises for yourselfd!!! :D :D :D :D :D

    • Lily Seminario
      Lily Seminario

      What about blue footed booby? They grow with white foot and it changes to blue. The reason of this is their nutrition when they are growing up. BTW regards from Ecuador!


      Ok so dark dull blue coz that’s my fave colour

    • The guy that likes LEGO'S
      The guy that likes LEGO'S

      Hmmmmmmm well the Ocean has planty of blue

    • Fernando Zambrano
      Fernando Zambrano

      Blue footed boobies?

  • Yaanvi Aggarwal
    Yaanvi Aggarwal


  • Paul Lietaer
    Paul Lietaer

    Blue Jays are awesome!

  • spooky

    sooo nothing is actually blue...

  • Mikawakening

    "I'm toxic! I'm a male!" 😂

  • polarisprog

    'why blue is rare in nature' the sky:

  • Amer Didi
    Amer Didi

    Even blue notes in music cannot be "natural"! Man, you are a genius!



  • Faisal Khan
    Faisal Khan

    SUBHANALLAH The Creator of Everything

  • SxgarBear

    The literal sky is blue. Ah yes nature

  • Lon Brouwers
    Lon Brouwers

    2:48 it kinda blue my mind 😂

  • Mizuha Ayuzawa
    Mizuha Ayuzawa

    Wow 😳

  • gege culu
    gege culu

    The quarrelsome snail dewailly clip because oboe pathogenetically spray beneath a cheerful cucumber. purple, yielding numeric

  • Arijit Seal
    Arijit Seal

    Blue is the colour 🔵

  • Hudson Hamman
    Hudson Hamman

    It's not just 'crustaceans' but alright.

  • The7thFool

    It's funny how you guys used the correct words for Lepidoptera (lepido+pteron) but failed to recognize that it isn't Latin but Greek

  • Christian O
    Christian O

    I have a blue cat.

  • Kay Konijn
    Kay Konijn

    Lets be honest, when we ate M&M’s as kids we always wanted to eat the blue ones💙

  • Oluwatamilore Elebute
    Oluwatamilore Elebute

    “ wait so they’re blue but they’re not really blue” “That’s correct. Yes ” Me: uhhh-

  • Andres Bujosa
    Andres Bujosa

    How can I believe in the theory of evolution after this?? It just blues my mind

  • Valhalla

    1:33 Actually the word "Lepidoptera" consists of lepida and pteron -Greek, not Latin. Sorry guys, I stopped watching after that. If you can't write the etymology of a word correctly, how am I supposed to believe every word you say?

  • シKAI

    "No blue in nature" Gumball Waterson : 🗿

  • Shamim Sultana Karim
    Shamim Sultana Karim

    R all those butterfly killed while they were alive?

  • Cyrus

    should have just named the video butterflies.

  • Tounge and Cheek
    Tounge and Cheek

    I love how americans say "squirrel" sk-whirl haha


    why does he look JUST LIKE my civics teacher?

  • felixthehuman

    This seems like a strange standard for "color realness" to say only pigments and dyes really have color. By that standard none of these colors are real: neon signs, red hot metal, most gemstones, the colors of a rainbow.

  • Kakashi Hatake
    Kakashi Hatake

    So crips aren’t crips?

  • Gaming With Momo
    Gaming With Momo


  • Random #1
    Random #1


  • Bull Finch
    Bull Finch

    Biology questions are never answered. This video didn't disappoint me either. so again, why is blue so rare?

  • Makhyusni Makhyusni
    Makhyusni Makhyusni

    Well our world full of blue

  • Kunal Modha
    Kunal Modha

    Not understanding a thing still watching....

  • Animation Vibes
    Animation Vibes

    After 3 years 😉

    • ShíníMé TV
      ShíníMé TV


    • Batool Dalloul
      Batool Dalloul


  • Aishani Shekhar
    Aishani Shekhar

    I am the only kid who is so obsessed with math and science going art makes me feel guilty I start to think "I am wasting time, time for math or science!"

  • G. Stepitupanoch
    G. Stepitupanoch

    What about your un oxygenated blood???

  • Lynn Thomas
    Lynn Thomas

    What about blue flowers or stones, like lapis lazuli? Is that real blue or is it also light bouncing?

  • Morgan Beach
    Morgan Beach

    I could argue that Purple is the rarest

  • malak

    I am blue.

  • Ryan Hoskin
    Ryan Hoskin


  • alison nils
    alison nils

    Mother Maria's color is the most rare blue. 💒

  • Lay

    because louis tomlinson owns it on his eyes haha

  • Katie .A
    Katie .A

    Dont forget the Blu Jay!!!!

  • PolandSilver

    No one is talking about lego blue jay.

  • Tomcathraje

    so if i eat only green ill be shrek?

  • guto

    rip to the butterfly on his desk and props for donating his body to science

  • Amir Oged
    Amir Oged

    I want that shirt!

  • G M
    G M

    Evolution doesn’t “know” things. It’s random chance, and the results that increase survival and reproduction success are what sticks - Natural selection. I think, in the absence of actual evidence beyond speculation, that a better theory would be that blue stands out too much in the environment. This would explain why, you know, there is so few species with that color. For birds, it’s not such a big deal as they are pretty darn good at avoiding predators because they can fly. But most other species either don’t want to be seen (predators) or don’t want to be seen (prey). Since mostly just birds and flying things have color m, pigment or not, then it’s reasonable to assume that was evolved by a common ancestor or at least that it was just a complete accident due to the color that just happened to be reflected by the structure of the material. Is a similar mutation evolved in a land animal, that animal would be less likely to have survive because of above mentions predator/prey. So, over time, more flying animals kept the grand colors - for them it turned into a way to attract mates. For poisonous frogs, it’s a sign that it is poisonous. Any predator that regularly tried to eat the poisonous frog would be poisoned and less likely to survive, so there ended up being few or no natural predators. I really don’t think it has anything to do with “I’m poisonous”. It has everything to do with the fact that they are poisonous. They just happened to also be blue, but that doesn’t matter because hey have no natural predators. Basically, what we observe, especially in the animal kingdom that have blue colors, are almost entirely species that can afford to be “seen”. Blue whales are dominant in the ocean and eat small things that can’t really avoid them anyways -and they live under the ocean... Blue frogs are poisonous and so ended up with few natural predators. Birds can fly and easily avoid predators, and the random change color produced ended up being a way for mates to actually see them.

  • Lokesh Yadav
    Lokesh Yadav

    The whole sky is blue. Oceans, rivers basically water is blue and he is asking why blue is so rare😂😂

    • Diana Marčeková
      Diana Marčeková

      Oceans are water and water is clear

  • Random SloMo
    Random SloMo

    "Why is blue so rare in nature?" Me: *looks up at cloudless sky*

  • bestamerica

    ' the nature blue is the top best beautifully color in the world

  • Kalergi is trash
    Kalergi is trash

    Looks up at the day sky.

  • BOSSMxN305

    Water is blue and water is 70% of the earth

  • Dave Fry
    Dave Fry

    Blue is my favourite colour

  • DCnationdanman Cross
    DCnationdanman Cross

    Blue balls

  • Speedyboba

    At a museum, I was almost forced to hold corpses of dead butterflies. *Don't trigger my PTSD.*

  • Speedyboba

    There are tons of blue humans...because we're sad.

  • Carter's Stuff
    Carter's Stuff

    Actually, there are blue skin dogs (mine is one), and Blue nosed dogs, just not fur.

  • vandana vishwakarma
    vandana vishwakarma

    Nature is awesome

  • Poornakumar Das
    Poornakumar Das

    71% of Earth surface is Oceans & Seas which are all blue. If we lift the eyes, in daylight, the sky when it is clear, is blue too. In fact we see profusion of blue. Don't you see that?

  • Miod Jovic
    Miod Jovic

    "Let's make this PG " are you even serious ? - it is an animal. Since when are animals censored . I don’t know since when everything is interpreted in a sexual context. Pathetic.

  • Devendra Pratap
    Devendra Pratap

    Anyone here looking for MR . WHITE'S Blue Meth .

  • 4NN13 H
    4NN13 H

    What about all that sky?

  • Whois Slimshady
    Whois Slimshady

    I was literally looking in the sky

  • Dinesh Balaji
    Dinesh Balaji

    Video: why is blue rare? Me: I don't care. Also me: watching

  • We can do it.
    We can do it.

    Somebody: *Why are you sad?* Me: *I'm writing BLUE is rare with my BLUE pen。*

  • Brep Brep
    Brep Brep

    What about the golden snub nosed monkeys? they are blue


    LEPIDOPTERA is a Greek, not a Latin word, you clueless bozo! Lepida = Thin blade not Scale (from leptos = thin) and Pteron = Wing not feather And you are supposed to do educational videos for PBS?!? LOL!

  • Re-Evolve

    Hi sir. You are requested to make a video on this: 1. When does the sun's magnetic polarity get reversed? 2. What impact will it have on the Earth? 3. Recently in 2020, the sun's polarity has been reversed, for the 25th cycle. When was the first cycle occurred? 4. Approximately when will the 48th (final) cycle occur? 5. What will happen, when the final 48th cycle occurs? Any disaster? 6. Whenever the first cycle had occurred, before that had no polarity reversal cycle ever occured on the sun? 7. Will the sun never ever change its polarity, after the 48th (final) cycle? 8. If the answer to question 7 is that the polarity will stilll be changed even after that, then why is the 48th cycle considered as the final cycle? 9. If after the 48th cycle, any new fresh cycle starts, then what will be different in the cycle? Why will be a fresh new cycle and not the 49th cycle?

  • Best Planet
    Best Planet

    blue is rare? The sky you see is in red?

  • WM Lamp
    WM Lamp

    I have the blue butterflies decorated on my bedroom wall. So amazing

  • Ayush Rai
    Ayush Rai

    What about Poison-Arrow frog?

  • Mharwin Madarang
    Mharwin Madarang

    here in Philippines there's a lot of Blue dragonflies 😍

  • streanhy millennial
    streanhy millennial

    Blue skies and blue oceans are blue apparently

  • Chris Einer
    Chris Einer


  • Gamer's Point
    Gamer's Point

    "Why is blue so rare in nature?" Meanwhile sky : Am I a joke to you?

  • Rudi

    Completely unrelated, where can i get that shirt

  • Kalo Arepo
    Kalo Arepo

    Only if you ignore the blue sky.the blue sea and the acres of blue flowers like agapanthus and Paterson's curse (echium) you get around here!

  • george singh
    george singh

    why is blue so difficult, even the blue led was made in 2014 only

  • Casual

    im blue

  • GeneralMartok00

    I'd be constantly tense if I wore that shirt.

  • 浙江卫视【奔跑吧】官方频道 - 欢迎订阅
    浙江卫视【奔跑吧】官方频道 - 欢迎订阅

    Wow video this “blue” my mind.

  • 浙江卫视【奔跑吧】官方频道 - 欢迎订阅
    浙江卫视【奔跑吧】官方频道 - 欢迎订阅

    Wow this actually blue my mind

  • Top Speed Brazil
    Top Speed Brazil

    Love Love Butterfly Blue 🥺🥺🦋💙💘💘💘

  • Greenest Boi!
    Greenest Boi!


  • lepiat

    This channel is awesome. They make everything complicated so EASY to understand!

  • Jay Ruiz Salvador
    Jay Ruiz Salvador

    if theres no blue color. then how blue crayon created?

  • Abdullah Al Mamun
    Abdullah Al Mamun

    all seems very logical, but evulation theory is like you are are mad, but take color by labotory by it self and dancing and they are more knowledgeable than human!!! but can not built houses for there live,?

  • Hashim C A
    Hashim C A

    Just imagine your top most boss has a job for butterfly studies.

  • Ashique Faiz
    Ashique Faiz

    Because sky has taken all the blue colour....

  • BiniX Bloom
    BiniX Bloom

    Pink exist 👁👄👁 "am i joke to you?"

  • Norwegian Viking Granny
    Norwegian Viking Granny

    The sky?

  • Yanko Hayden
    Yanko Hayden

    The supreme advantage alarmingly remember because maid nationally charge modulo a previous oil. seemly, subdued bra

  • Edge killertA
    Edge killertA


  • alfie chat
    alfie chat

    5:07 monkey

  • Cabal Paxiarch
    Cabal Paxiarch

    Yeah, very rare, it's only 3/4 of the planet. What you meant was "why is blue so rare on animals" which of course would have made for a less interesting title.

  • lobopix

    The blue-tongued skink didn't get a mention. Surely its tongue is a pigmented?

  • Fede 99
    Fede 99

    They're blue but they're not really blue, so they are butterfLIES!

  • Hitesh_blues

    Thank you for sharing! Mind Blueing!!!

  • Siddarth Santhosh
    Siddarth Santhosh

    What about kingfisher?