While many animals are unable to synthesize carotenoid pigments to create red and yellow surfaces, the green and blue colours of bird feathers and insect carapaces are usually not produced by pigments at all, but by structural coloration. Structural coloration means the production of colour by microscopically-structured surfaces fine enough to interfere with visible light, sometimes in combination with pigments: for example, peacock tail feathers are pigmented brown, but their structure makes them appear blue, turquoise and green. Structural coloration can produce the most brilliant colours, often iridescent. For example, the blue/green gloss on the plumage of birds such as ducks, and the purple/blue/green/red colours of many beetles and butterflies are created by structural coloration. Animals use several methods to produce structural colour, as described in the table
Visible light (commonly referred to simply as light) is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has a wavelength in the range of about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm Ц between the invisible infrared, with longer wavelengths and the invisible ultraviolet, with shorter wavelengths. Primary properties of visible light are intensity, propagation direction, frequency or wavelength spectrum, and polarisation, while its speed in a vacuum, 299,792,458 meters per second (about 300,000 kilometers per second), is one of the fundamental constants of nature. Visible light, as with all types of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), is experimentally found to always move at this speed in vacuum. In common with all types of EMR, visible light is emitted and absorbed in tiny "packets" called photons, and exhibits properties of both waves and particles. This property is referred to as the waveЦparticle duality. The study of light, known as optics, is an important research area in modern physics. In physics, the term light sometimes refers to electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength, whether visible or not. This article focuses on visible light. See the electromagnetic radiation article for the general term.