Look at that snake! red touches black.
What do we do: go on, or turn back?

Answer: Go on. 

This question is about the ‘Pretend‘ page, in which there are several snakes with banded red, black, and yellow colors.  The snake at the top is venomous, it is the Sonoran Coral Snake.  The one below, and pointing left, is the Harlequin or  Coral Snake – it is also venomous.   The snake at the bottom is a Scarlet King Snake. It is not venomous.  It has just developed a color pattern that resembles the venomous snakes. By pretending to be venomous, it will hopefully  left alone.   Red, yellow or white and black are very common warning colors.  If you look through the book you will find other examples.

We refer to dangerous snakes as venomous not poisonous. A poisonous organism is one which would poison you if you eat it.  The danger from snakes is that they may have venom, a chemical component which, if injected, will disrupt how your body works, and may even kill you. 

How many animals do you know
That are the same color as the crow?

The term crow refers to a type of bird that includes ravens, magpies, jackdaws, and crows.  This question should start at the ‘Black‘ page. Establish that the color in question as Black.  You can start turning pages to see what other organisms in this book are black.  You will not find many that are all black and only black, so set some rules that will expand those that can be included.   ‘Mostly’ black will be a good rule as it will also cause discussion about what does ‘mostly’ mean.  Any discussion about decisions is more likely to lead to engagement than answering a question with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.   

Also, try any book about organisms, such as bird guide book, and work through it to find other examples. 

If you want to get this question right,
Just list all the guys with the color white. 

A simple task, to leaf through this book and make a list of everything that has even the smallest bit of white.  The same idea is in the next question (orange), and also teal at the end.  Use the opportunity to speak the name of the organism, and to talk a little about what kind of organism it is. Consider rewards for achieving targets.

Flick back through the pages,
Which have orange in the images?

A simple task, to leaf through this book and make a list of everything that has even the smallest bit of orange.  The same idea is with the previous question (white),  and also teal at the end.  However, unlike ‘white’, you will need to make some rules about what counts as ‘orange’. Use the opportunity to speak the names of organisms, and to talk a little about what kind of organism it is. Consider rewards for achieving targets.

Roses are red, violets are blue.
How much of that is really true?

Answer: None. 

This is part of a Valentine’s day (February 14th) rhyme.  This one comes from the 18th Century:

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.

There are lots of lots of variations

They say roses are red and violets are purple
Sugar’s sweet and so is maple syrple.

Roses come in a wide range of colors.  On the ‘Advertise‘ page is a picture of a rose, but it is a combination of pink and yellow. It is not red, but you might say it is reddish.  But violets, there is a picture of them on the Violet page, are NOT blue, but violet (purple with a softer tone).  So, the rhyme with the made up syruple is better.   Try coming up with more rhymes of your own like this.

Don’t look, just have a think –
Which animal is bright pink?

Answer: the slug.  

This question is about the ‘Pink‘ page.  It is a question that asks for memory and recall.  Memory/recall  and critical observation are different skills.  When the question says ‘Don’t look, just have a think’ – it is  saying that a rule with this one is not to go through all of the pages of the book. It is much more about remembering.  Other questions,  such as those about Black, White, Teal or Orange,  do ask you to look at the pages, because different skills (of being observant and thoughtful) are being tested.   It is essential to have memory; it is very helpful to have a good memory. It is more important to have the skills and desire to find out and discover. 

Now, who has spikey hair,
And purple underwear? 

Answer: Purple Sea Urchin. 

This question is about the ‘Violet‘ page, in which there is an underwater picture of 17 or so spikey sea-urchins, and then there is a picture of a shell from which the spikes have been removed.  The ‘spikes’ are tough, and not soft and gentle like hair.  They probably help to protect slow-moving sea-urchins from things that would like to eat them … such as crabs.

See red fruit, what to do with it?
Eat, don’t eat, or try a little bit?

Answer: Do not take the risk  

This question is about the ‘Advertise‘ and  ‘Warn‘ pages. Both have examples of red fruit.  The bright red color is very obvious, and that should lead us to wonder ‘Why? ‘   Why is a risky question as we explain elsewhere.  On the Advertise page is a strawberry.  The benefit of strawberries being brightly colored (and sweet tasting) is that the color draws attention to them, and if eaten by a rabbit, or bird, or other animal, the little seeds on the outside will be carried to a new place and seeds dropped in poop.  New strawberry plants will grow.   The Warn page shows the red berries of a yew tree.  Almost all parts of a yew tree are very poisonous, and the seed is especially poisonous. So,  be warned.  Oddly, the red flesh of the fruit is not poisonous.  

The lesson is that bright colors may be significant, but you do not know in advance if the color is warn or to invite.  So, the best thing to do is take no risks and  step away. 

A rainbow stretches from violet to red
Which is on the outside of the spread?

Answer: The red end of the visible spectrum 

Rainbows form when light passes through tiny drops of water – in rain or mist.   When light passes through a curved surface, it changes direction ever so slightly. The amount of deflection depends, in part, on the color of the radiation. Red is bent the least, and violet light bends more. 

During the day, a blue sea is a normal sight
But what makes the sea blue at night.

Answer: Microscopic plankton

This question is about the ‘Luminescence‘ page.  Sometimes, organisms that can produce light are present in such high numbers that the sea becomes bright. This most usually happens when the organisms are disturbed.  There are some amazing videos of this.

Blue in birds is a strange kind
How many examples can you find?

The first part of this is to make the point that blue color in birds does not come from pigments, but from the way that the feathers are constructed.  As explained on the iridescence page, this arrangement is referred as a ‘structural color’.  This second part of the question is a bit like the one where you have to look for white or orange or teal.   In some cases, such as the indigo bunting, or the heron on the Gray page, you will find that it will be hard to decide whether the color should be called blue. Make up your own rules.  In some cases the amount of blue that you can see is very small (the kookaburra on the ‘Brown‘ page).  But, do not include the penguin on the right-hand ‘Infrared‘ page  with the ‘blue’ wings – because that color is computer-generated in order to show which parts of the body surface are warmer or cooler.   The first penguin picture shows their true colors.  Let’s assume that we include ‘blue-ish’, the answer should be ‘9’ … but let’s see how long it takes them to realize that the feather on the ‘Questions’ page should be counted.

Which animals cause the belief
They are bark, branch and leaf?

Answer: stick insects, tawny frogmouths, and leaf insects. 

This question is answered by checking out the ‘Camouflage‘ and ‘Pretend‘ pages – both of which give examples of animals that have colors and shapes and patterns that make them look like parts of plants. 

You can add issues about how many animals mislead the eye because they blend in with the background.  The polar animals on the ‘White‘ page are a good example  (and compare  them to the bison on the ‘Credits‘ page). 

Color of flowers attracts visitors, we suggest.
On a white star-flower, how many are at rest?

Answer: Click on the picture. Seven have been marked. 

If Captain Gravity had not been
Which colors would not be seen

This answer is on the ‘Indigo‘ page. ‘Captain Gravity’ refers to Isaac Newton, because he was the scientist who first explained gravity and why things fall down.  If there were no gravity, and no gravitational pull from Earth, things would not fall down.  He had the weird opinion that there should be the same number (7) of colors in a spectrum as there were musical notes. So he divided the spectrum into the ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) colors.  As the ‘Indigo‘ page explains,  Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet are strong and obvious colors, but he had to add two more to make 7. The ones he added were in between Yellow and Red (Orange)  and  between Blue and Violet (Indigo). So, if someone else had described the rainbow first, they may not have mentioned Orange and Indigo. 

Which colors do you think should be included? 

How do you think octologists feel,
That ROY G BIV has no Teal?

This question is as much about developing vocabulary as anything else.  First of all, we need to establish that ROY G BIV refers to the spectrum of colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). ‘Octo’ means ‘8’: so an octopus has an animal with 8 legs, and octagenerian  is a person who is 80 years old, an octagon is an eight sided shape.  So an octologist is a made-up word for someone who thinks that the number 8 is important, and would expect that the color spectrum to have 8 colors. The question asks you to pick out one color that is not included in the seven that are normally said to make up the rainbow. But, if we can Indigo, why did we not have teal. 

Extend to ‘triangle’, ‘penta’ (for five; our hands have pentamerous symmetry, and starfish typically have five arms),  hex for 6 (‘hexapod’  is another word for insects because they have 6 legs), and ‘poly’ – lots. 

When you have an answer to that Q.
Can you find examples of that hue?

Teal is a greeny blue, but the color is not exact.  If you can find blue grading into green in a picture,  it will include teal.  It’s fair to propose  the rainbow shrimp (Spectrum), the wings of the king parrot in Red, the Gould’s finch in Blue, and the peacock (Advertise) all have some teal color.

This question can be treated as Black, White and Orange.  Dig out any organism book or magazines to look for more examples. 

That’s it.  If we did not explain things clearly enough, or if you think there are other points of view,  please write to us using the comment box below.

Nature Reader colors web Questions

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