A-z - Animals

10 rare purple animals

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key point

  • Some of the animals on this list are sea creatures, one of which is a purple starfish!
  • Many birds can be purple, however, the storm-backed starling is a stunning royal color that can be found in parts of Africa.
  • One animal on this list is the purple longhorn beetle, although it's probably more of a light purple than any rich color.

Color plays an integral role in the animal kingdom. While purple animals are rare, many shades of purple occur in animals and plants around the world.

Naturally, purple animals are difficult to come by because mammals cannot produce this pigment. Even birds and insects that have different shades of purple are just the result of structural coloring.

Different shades of purple exist on animals to draw attention. Some of this attention is meant to attract pollinators, while others use it as a warning to stay away. In this species, bright purple hues also help attract mates. Let's take a look at some of the rare purple animals that exist in nature.

1. Purple-backed starling

10 - Rare Purple Animal - 1
The metallic purple feathers of the male purple-backed mynah are used to attract females.

©iStock.com/Michael Fitzsimmons

The plumage of the purple-backed mynah has a purple metallic hue, although this hue is more common in males. It's used as a way to attract women, and it's mostly brown with some flecks of neutral tones. Since they don't have violet in their plumage, females often find it easy to hide from predators.

The purple-backed mynah is a sexually dimorphic species that can grow to around 7 inches in length and are brightly colored. Females are mostly brown, however, males are full of life like many other birds. These incredibly striking birds are often found in woodland or savannah areas of Africa.

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To find the purple-backed mynah, you have to travel to sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Purple starfish

The violet color of purple starfish is used to warn predators to stay away.

© iStock.com/Dell Gu

The purple starfish is a striking sight, found deep in the water. Animals that live several meters below the surface are often hidden by lack of light. Purple is easiest to see from a certain depth, unlike red and orange which disappear at about 15 meters underwater.

The only color that can be easily seen is blue, which can be seen below 60 meters. These naturally purple animals want to be seen. However, they do not use violets to attract a mate. Instead, it warns predators to stay away.

3. Indian Purple Frog

The easiest place to find Indian purple frogs is in the Western Ghats of India. These frogs, which measure 6 to 9 centimeters in length, are not known to be venomous, although they are commonly considered to be dark purple and gray in color. They're not even dangerous; locals have been eating them for over a century, and they hold incredible medical benefits.

Purple frogs have a large, bloated body with shirt-like limbs. As mentioned, the color is dark purple to gray. This frog can grow up to around seven centimeters and has a small head compared to its body and other frog species. In addition to its small head, it also has a generally pointy nose. Its short forelimbs have stiff palms that help it burrow underground.

They spend most of their lives underground, feeding mainly on termites in the rainforest.

4. Purple Crown Fairy

Male nymphs are purple and females are green.

© iStock.com/Neil Bowman

Purple crown wood nymphs are members of the hummingbird family and are usually found in subtropical or tropical habitats. Adults are 10.2cm long with a purple crown matching its upper back, shoulders and belly. Females, however, are bright green.

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However, it is closely related to the Mexican forest nymph ( Thalurania ridgwayi ), which are often collectively referred to as crown forest nymphs. Although they are often grouped together, they are considered distinct species.

Shades of purple or green usually don't fully develop until the bird is older.

5. Purple Grenadier

Purple Grenadier has a beautiful combination of chestnut brown and soft violet.

© iStock.com/Neil Bowman

The Purple Grenadier is a species of finches that are commonly found in East Africa. They have purple plumage throughout their lives, rather than later developing the color like purple crown wood nymphs. Males typically have more coloration to attract females during mating.

The combination of colors – chestnut brown and soft violet – make these rare purple animals very eye-catching.

6. Costa’s Hummingbird

Unlike males, female Costa hummingbirds do not have purple plumage.

© iStock.com/Monica Laura

Costa's hummingbird is the second purple hummingbird found on this list. These naturally purple animals follow the same pattern as other birds, only appearing purple in the male's plumage, while also having shades of white and green. The purple color makes them easy for females to spot during mating.

They're easy to spot in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, but sugar water feeders may make them more attractive.

7. Magnificent anemones

Giant sea anemones are found in the Indo-Pacific region.

©Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock.com

Magnificent sea anemones are rare purple animals found in the Indo-Pacific region of the world. While the open mouth disc and tentacles are often light beige or white, the cylinders are the real beauty. While many images are recorded with purple columns, they can also be recorded in blue, green, red or pink.

The color is mainly determined by the surrounding algae, not to warn off predators.

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8. Glutinous rice snails

Nuoluo is a freshwater snail, which is both beautiful and delicate. While the snail itself is almost translucent, its shell takes on a beautiful purple hue. Since purple is a rare natural color, people in ancient Rome used to extract dyes from snails. In order to do this, dye makers must open their shells to access the slime before exposing them to sunlight. It may take as many as 250,000 treatments to get even an ounce of dye, but the results are long-lasting.

9. Spanish Shawls

The color of the Spanish shawl comes from astaxanthin.

©worldswildlifewonders/Shutterstock.com

Capella, a species of sea cucumber, adorns its body in vibrant shades of violet and orange. Typically, they are found along the west coasts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands. Their body color all comes from a carotenoid pigment called astaxanthin.

There are two reasons for their color. While the orange gills help them camouflage while hunting prey, the brightness of their entire body tells predators to stay away from them. This suggests they either taste bad or are poisonous to predators.

10. Long Horned Beetle

The purple hue of the longhorn beetle is due to exposure to different light sources.

©iStock.com/JMrocek

Like the other rare purple animals on this list, the longhorn beetle is more of a grayish purple than a bright color. Also known as longcorns, these beetles are an invasive species that invade homes. Although most people think they are annoying, they are not harmful to anything. They will not damage the structure or furniture of the home, and they will not bite or sting. Instead, the purple hue seems to be mainly due to exposure to different light, which sometimes turns blue as well.

List of Rare Purple Animals

Here is a compiled list of 10 rare purple animals in the world:

rank animal
10. purple-backed mynah
9. purple starfish
8. indian purple frog
7. Purple crown wood nymph
6. Purple Grenadier
5. Costa's Hummingbird
4. magnificent anemone
3. Glutinous rice snails
2. spanish shawl
1. long horned beetle

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