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It's not tannin, it's melanin (p.700, Biochemistry, Voet&Voet 1990).
Similar in function though. Also you should check out melanocytes and
melanophores. I know people have done work on how beings with the
ability to control skin tone might communicate, but I can't recall who
:( either way the prospect is interesting.

On 10/19/11, Sam Stutter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> AFAIK, red is the colour which most attracts creatures with colour vision.
> If a language has more than 3 colours one of them will always be red.
> Perhaps beings with blue blood are most attracted to blue and have blue as
> their third colour term...
>
> Also, why does English have a term for pink? We don't have a basic term for
> light green or light blue (discounting metaphors and poetic forms like
> "eggshell" or "cerulean")
>
> On 19 Oct 2011, at 23:05, Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> --- On Wed, 10/19/11, Matthew Turnbull <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>> Yes, but also by the colour of our
>>> blood, after all, most white people
>>> have a pinkish tinge, unless we're in very bright light.
>>
>> Right -- that's the colour of the blood showing through relatively
>> unpigmented tissue. That's why I asked if the Safirs' skin was truly
>> blue by pigment or relatively translucent and only "blue" by the blood
>> within showing through.
>>
>>> Human skin is
>>> translucent so our blood shows through it. Although of
>>> course blue
>>> skin could be due to pigments in the skin as much as due to
>>> blood
>>> colour. If it is due to blood colour they're probably a
>>> very faint blue.
>>
>> Indeed -- and that's what I was asking about! When I think of actual
>> blue skin, I think *Smurfs*!! Perhaps Safirs come in a range of bluish
>> colours, their white-analogues being bluish because of blood colour and
>> their actual blues because of pigment?
>
> I can imagine a variation in blues much like humans. Is it tannin which
> causes skin colours? I wonder what the equivalent chemical would be in a
> blue blooded biology and what skin colour would be like at very high
> concentrations. Would light blue be reserved for goth and albino elves? :)
>

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