With July 4th fast approaching, we're once again attracted to the holiday colors of red, white and blue. We see it pop up every place — at parades, on flags, clothing and bunting — food coloring is added to desserts and cocktails — and paint is often seen decorating our kids' happy faces. But were you aware Mother Nature is also known to go patriotic, before, during and after Independence Day?
Red, White & Blue Species
In nature, there are a number of animals whose feathers, wings, fur and scales come in red, white in blue. The Cherax Pulcher Crayfish is so colorful, it’s actually sold for ornamental fish trade in West Papua, Indonesia.
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Rainbow Lizard comes in of range of colors that include something to close to the flag.
As a caterpillar, the Polka-Dot Wasp Moth is orange, covered in what look like patches of false eyelash. But after it has matured in its cocoon of silk, it emerges red, white, and blue!
In equatorial east African, the Mandrill sports white whiskers and chins, and bright blue and red on their noses and hindquarters.
Cuba’s national bird, the Cuban Trogon—also called the tocororo or tocoloro—matches the vibrant colors of the American (and Cuban) flag.
“The blue feathers present iridescent patterns,” notes ornithologist Eduardo E. Inigo Elias, senior research associate at Cornell University, who has studied the biology and conservation of birds in Cuba for 14 years.
So with this year’s BirdsCarribean’s International Conference fast approaching in southern Cuba from July 13-17, what better ambassador to represent the country, than the Trogan.
At the assembly, Trogans and Cubans will be welcoming more than 200 international delegates to discuss and share the latest in Caribbean bird research and protection.
"BirdsCaribbean conferences have always been a place for scientists to collaborate beyond political boundaries," said Andrew Dobson, president of BirdsCaribbean, "Bringing an international group together in Cuba is particularly exciting. We are excited to have the chance to work face-to-face with our Cuban colleagues.”
This year's theme is 'Celebrating Caribbean Diversity.' The Caribbean is a hot spot of biodiversity, with many unique plants and animals. Birds are no exception. In addition to the Trogan, there are 171 species found in the Caribbean, making this region a virtual melting pot for bird scientists.
The conference’s registration is still open. Visit birdscaribbean.org to register and learn more.