Forma, Vol. 17 (No. 2), pp. 169-181, 2002
Original Paper

Effect of Macroscopic Structure in Iridescent Color of the Peacock Feathers

Shinya Yoshioka* and Shuichi Kinoshita

Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan
*E-mail address:

(Received May 16, 2002; Accepted June 3, 2002)

Keywords: Iridescence, Peacock Feather, Structural Color

Abstract. We have performed the structural and optical studies on the iridescent peacock feathers. The periodic structure of the submicron melanin granules has been observed beneath the feather surface and is considered responsible for the optical interference. In addition, the macroscopic structures such as the surface curvature and the configuration of barbules considerably affect the reflection properties. A simple model which takes both the submicron and macroscopic structures into account is proposed to explain the essential part of the iridescence in peacock feathers.

[Full text] (PDF 3 MB)