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Fossilized Biophotonic Nanostructures Reveal the Original Colors of 47-Million-Year-Old Moths

Overview of attention for article published in PLoS Biology, November 2011
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (98th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (94th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
4 news outlets
blogs
3 blogs
twitter
29 tweeters
facebook
2 Facebook pages
wikipedia
1 Wikipedia page
googleplus
3 Google+ users

Citations

dimensions_citation
34 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
94 Mendeley
citeulike
1 CiteULike
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Title
Fossilized Biophotonic Nanostructures Reveal the Original Colors of 47-Million-Year-Old Moths
Published in
PLoS Biology, November 2011
DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001200
Pubmed ID
Authors

Maria E. McNamara, Derek E. G. Briggs, Patrick J. Orr, Sonja Wedmann, Heeso Noh, Hui Cao

Abstract

Structural colors are generated by scattering of light by variations in tissue nanostructure. They are widespread among animals and have been studied most extensively in butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), which exhibit the widest diversity of photonic nanostructures, resultant colors, and visual effects of any extant organism. The evolution of structural coloration in lepidopterans, however, is poorly understood. Existing hypotheses based on phylogenetic and/or structural data are controversial and do not incorporate data from fossils. Here we report the first example of structurally colored scales in fossil lepidopterans; specimens are from the 47-million-year-old Messel oil shale (Germany). The preserved colors are generated by a multilayer reflector comprised of a stack of perforated laminae in the scale lumen; differently colored scales differ in their ultrastructure. The original colors were altered during fossilization but are reconstructed based upon preserved ultrastructural detail. The dorsal surface of the forewings was a yellow-green color that probably served as a dual-purpose defensive signal, i.e. aposematic during feeding and cryptic at rest. This visual signal was enhanced by suppression of iridescence (change in hue with viewing angle) achieved via two separate optical mechanisms: extensive perforation, and concave distortion, of the multilayer reflector. The fossils provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, for the function of structural color in fossils and demonstrate the feasibility of reconstructing color in non-metallic lepidopteran fossils. Plastic scale developmental processes and complex optical mechanisms for interspecific signaling had clearly evolved in lepidopterans by the mid-Eocene.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 29 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 94 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 6 6%
Hungary 2 2%
France 1 1%
South Africa 1 1%
Colombia 1 1%
Peru 1 1%
Argentina 1 1%
Belgium 1 1%
United States 1 1%
Other 1 1%
Unknown 78 83%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 30 32%
Researcher 20 21%
Student > Master 10 11%
Student > Bachelor 6 6%
Student > Doctoral Student 4 4%
Other 17 18%
Unknown 7 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 38 40%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 16 17%
Physics and Astronomy 14 15%
Environmental Science 4 4%
Materials Science 3 3%
Other 10 11%
Unknown 9 10%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 80. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 04 October 2020.
All research outputs
#349,798
of 19,012,843 outputs
Outputs from PLoS Biology
#811
of 5,158 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#1,513
of 127,028 outputs
Outputs of similar age from PLoS Biology
#4
of 67 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,012,843 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 5,158 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 57.0. This one has done well, scoring higher than 84% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 127,028 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 67 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.