From metallic mirrored beetles to stately senior simians, the serene beauty of silver animals reflects their rank as some of nature’s most exquisite creatures. Though gold may be more flashy, silver animals are no second bananas and take a back seat to nobody. Best of all, their ardent argent adornment never tarnishes no matter what the weather.
Silverfish (Lespisma sacchrina) are wingless insects that can grow up to 3/4″ (about 2cm) in length. They’re soft-bodied creatures that move with a sinuous, fish-like motion – the origin of their most common colloquial name. Silverfish appear silvery due to their many ridged overlapping scales that reflect light. The scales are easily dislodged which makes it seem like these common household pests are “dusted” with silver.
(images via: Associated Newspapers Ltd.)
Glistening metallic beetles living in Costa Rica’s rainforests have tantalized and delighted those who’ve spied them over the centuries. Indeed, these beetles (Chrysina limbata) and their golden relatives (Chrysina aurigans) are the most metallic-looking of any animal. Their secret lies in the chitinous wing covers that cover most of their upper bodies. Up to 70 thin, semi-transparent layers of chitin reflect and amplify light without the need for any actual metal.
The most familiar metallic-bodied flies are so-called Blow-Flies and Bottle Flies of the family Calliphoridae, the latter often displaying reflective blue or green bodies. Some species of flies emerge from their pupal stage unpigmented, however, and their shiny exoskeletons therefore appear to have a silvery sheen. Macro photographs of these newly emergent flies can remind viewers of futuristic cyborg robots rather than ordinary insects.
The ominously large silver spider at the top of the composite image above belongs to the genus Cyphonisia and is known colloquially as the Silver Trapdoor Spider – definitely something one doesn’t want to drop in on! The smaller and more silvery spiders above are known as Dewdrop Spiders. These small, jewel-like spiders of the genus Argyrodes don’t construct webs of their own, preferring to lurk in and around the webs of larger garden spiders where their shining bodies remind onlookers of droplets of morning dew.
One of the wonders of the ocean is a massive school made up of hundreds – even thousands – of sleek, silvery fish. Congregating together as a representation of the theory of “safety in numbers”, schools of fish protect their species as a whole while providing predators with easy pickings at the same time. As for their silver scales, a huge number of fish species adopt this method of distracting camouflage that has the added benefit of making their bodies smoother, allowing for faster movement.