Found at depths of more than 30m below the waves live tiny ocean crustaceans known as sea sapphires. Looking like dancing microscopic disco balls they all but disappear when surfacing to feed.
Their signature dazzle is derived from tightly packed crystals. These lie just below the crustaceans’ outermost shell that is made of a chemical compound called guanine, (a main component of DNA) these crystals are arranged in a regularly alternating hexagonal patterns that reflect light.
According to a recently published study “the colours are apparently used by the copepods for signalling and communication,” says study leader Lia Addadi. Addadi is a structural biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
Sea Sapphires measure no more than a grain of rice.
Source: National Geographic