Yellow: the color of sunshine, lemons, bananas, and a surprising variety of animals. Though you may call them Mellow Yellow (quite rightly), these warmly tinted creatures don’t take their hues lightly – and neither should you.
Bugs – and that includes beetles, butterflies, bees and more, are yellow for a number of reasons. In the case of the latter its to warn away potential predators by adopting nature’s version of road racing’s Caution flag. For others, matching the color of the plants you live on is a good way to avoid predators and/or deceive prey.
(image via: PBase/Calvin_Y)
All is not green and purple at the Mandai Orchid Garden, as this small but noticeable bug makes abundantly clear. Yellow pigment suffuses this insect’s chitinous carapace and much of its exoskeleton, save for the lower legs and compound eyes.
Yellow Crab Spider
The Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) is commonly found on North American flowers such as daisies and – you guessed it – goldenrod. Close-up photos of Crab Spiders (not just the Goldenrod variety) are of interest chiefly due to the skull-like markings on the spiders’ abdomens.
(image via: What’s That Bug?)
There’s another reason as well: these voracious predators often ambush prey larger than themselves, a feat only possible due to their precise camouflage enabling a sense of surprise.
(image via: Red Orbit)
Goldenrod Crab Spiders are usually yellow but that’s not always the case, even among individual spiders. If one of these spiders should find itself on a white flower, it can change its color to match the new background. This is accomplished through the movement of liquid pigment the spiders produce and shuttle from lower to upper “skin” layers as needed. It takes one of these spiders about 6 days to change from yellow to white but as long as 30 days to accomplish the reverse color shift.
(image via: Richard Seaman)
The roots of the butterfly’s name are shrouded in history but it’s not unreasonable to guess that many common European butterflies flitted about on buttery yellow wings. Today, butterflies around the world have evolved to be yellow, most likely to match the nectar-laden flowers upon which they must land to feed. At these times, butterflies are most vulnerable to bird and insect predators.
(image via: Best Books Review)
Caterpillars are often yellow as well, regardless of the color of the butterfly it will someday become. The snake-like larva above combines enlarged eyespots with bright yellow coloration in an effort to dissuade predators from considering it for their next meal.
(image via: Mentalfloss)
The Clouded Sulphur is one of the most common butterflies and can often be seen in suburban settings from early spring through late fall. Though easy to see as it flies from flower to flower, the presence of small, contrasting eyespots on its wings may help this small butterfly escape becoming dinner when a “diner” gets too close.
Yellow Sea Anemone
Sea Anemones have very few, if any, natural predators and perhaps this is why they display an incredibly wide variety of colors, often quite intense in hue.
The stinging tentacles of Sea Anemones are avoided by most fish though famously, the Clownfish (think “Finding Nemo”) is immune to the nerve-paralyzing venom and often uses anemones for hiding places when bigger fish are in the area.
(image via: Wild At Hull)
Sea anemones are not social creatures but are found in abundance in, on and around coral reefs, adding pleasant splashes of color to delight the eyes of admiring scuba divers.
Crabs are one of the most successful species of crustacean, filling a number of ecological niches in varied locations on land and in the sea. Unlike their cousins the Lobsters, for whom a yellow carapace is a 30 million to 1 occurrence, yellow crabs are common within their species and their shells add a bright tone to undersea vistas.
(image via: Art Classes in Virginia)
This Fiddler Crab is delicately tinged in mild yellow with only its creamy white claws and deep black stalked eyes differing from its overall lemony hue. Fiddler Crabs conduct elaborate courtship rituals in which they flex and wave their larger claw to impress the local females – and intimidate any rival males.
Yellow Tang, Yellowtail, Yellow-fin, the list of fish with “Yellow” in their name is a long one. Why is yellow so frequently seen among our finned friends? It may be that filtered through seawater, sunlight doesn’t “light up” an animal who appears brilliantly tinted when viewed in the open air.
(image via: Fish-Wallpapers)
Whatever the reason, yellow fish add depth and beauty to nature’s spectrum of the sea and also to countless home tropical fish aquariums.
(image via: Howard Ho)
The above photograph by Howard Ho captures the exquisite beauty of a bright yellow fish against a rich vermillion background. Brightly pigmented fish such as this one are typically found in shallow surface waters; deep sea fish are much more blandly colored but often use bioluminescence to draw attention (and prey) to themselves.
Not all bright yellow frogs are poisonous but a significant number are. Soft-bodied and small, these tropical frogs are preyed upon by a huge number of reptiles, birds and mammals. Being bright yellow warns potential predators to beware of the possibility of poisoning – a threat that works whether the yellow frog is poisonous or not.
(image via: Stephen Desroches)
In the amazing nature photo above, Stephen Desroches has managed to capture a tropical poison dart frog in a zoo’s carefully constructed approximation of its much more inaccessible natural setting.
(image via: Jose E Hernandez World)
While many so-called “bad zoos” get the lion’s share of publicity, the vast majority of zoos take great pains to ensure their “guests” enjoy a quality of life as good as, or sometimes even better, than one they’d experience in the dog-eat-dog wild world.
Yellow is not a common color for snakes, who rely heavily on ambush predation as a hunting technique. Most of the yellow snakes people are familiar with are actually albinos bred to satisfy demand from pet owners who appreciate the beauty of a yellow snake, patterned or otherwise.
(image via: Fantom-XP)
Though referred to at the source page as a “Yellow Python”, the serpentine specimen above is more likely a Caramel Burmese Python. This albino variation of the normal Burmese Python bears yellow and orange patterning on a pale base and is distinguished by its eyes, said to resemble the color of milk chocolate.
From baby ducks and chicks to domestic canaries to the sweetly singing Yellow Warbler who visits America’s backyards during its long migrations, yellow birds seem to be everywhere – check your bathtub for a rubber ducky.
(image via: Talbot Carvings)
The only place yellow birds seem to be rare is on the pro baseball field: we’ve got Cardinals, Blue Jays and Orioles, so why no love for the noble Goldfinch?
(image via: Punjabi Lok Virsa)
The wide variety of wholly or partially yellow birds, combined with their naturally beautiful range of movement, makes them popular subjects for amateur and professional photographers alike. The above bird, a type of woodpecker known as the Yellow-Shafted Flicker, is caught here just as it leaves its nest somewhere deep in an American forest.
Relatively common and not considered threatened throughout its home range in southern Africa; in fact 12 subspecies of the raccoon-like burrowing mammal have been identified. The Yellow Mongoose has golden fur shading to a paler yellow tint on its underside, topped off with a white-tipped tail.
(image via: Barrowfordian)
Judging from its fierce scowl and bared teeth, it’s hard to imagine this Yellow Mongoose being a close relative of the shy, cute Meerkats from the popular TV show Meerkat Manor. In fact, another name for the Yellow Mongoose is the Red Meerkat. The angry-looking fella above makes his (or her) home at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria, UK.
(image via: UNP)
Yellow in color though not in temperament, these “Sunny Jims” of the animal kingdom add a dash of bright gold to an often earthy Earthly environment. Speaking of Jim, we’ll close with one particular human animal who has adopted brilliant yellow coloration as his way to stand out in a crowd. We think he’s very successful… who’d argue otherwise, especially to his bright yellow face?