The colors of most insects are the result of pigments located in cuticle and epidermis, or they may be physical colors caused by surface structures in the cuticle. Colored material in hemolymph or internal organs can also contribute to the insect's color if the integument is transparent. Ommochromes, pteridines, carotenoids, bile pigments, melanins, and urates are the most widespread and important of the epidermal pigments. The colored light reflected from such epidermal pigments passes the overlying cuticle before it reaches the eye of the observer, and the observed color is influenced by the amount of colored material present in the cuticle.

See Also the Following Articles

Chemical Defense • Coloration • Cuticle • Exoskeleton • Molting

Further Reading

Bereiter-Hahn, J., Matoltsy, A. G., and Richards, K. S. (eds.). (1984). "Biology of the Integument," Vol. 1 of "Invertebrates." Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (See especially Chaps. 27—35.) Binnington, K., and Retnakaran, A. (eds.). (1991). "Physiology of the Insect

Epidermis." CSIRO Publications, Melbourne, Australia. Hepburn, H. R. (ed.). (1976). "The Insect Integument." Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Kerkut, G. A., and Gilbert, L. I. (eds.). (1985). "Comprehensive Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology," 13 vols. Pergamon Press, Oxford, U.K. (See especially Vol. 3, Chaps. 1-4.) Ohnishi, E., and Ishizaki, H. (eds.). (1990). "Molting and Metamorphosis." Japan Scientific Societies Press Tokyo, Japan.

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