beetle

Golden tortoise beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata)

US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

An algorithm inspired by the way that a species of beetle changes colour to communicate with its peers and predators solves engineering problems faster than a range of previous approaches.

The golden tortoise beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata) is unusual in that males can change the colour of their wing casings at will between browns, purples, bright orange and gold. Doing so can attract females for mating opportunities and also deter predators.

The behaviour inspired Omid Tarkhaneh at the University of Tabriz, Iran, and his colleagues to mimic the behaviour algorithmically and …