Monthly Archives: July 2016

From Food to Art

Sculpture Jan Fabre incorporates Jewel Beetles into many of his works of art such as the globe pictured at left. Jewel Beetles have a captivating iridescence that adds color and sparkle. The color is not constant but changes with the … Continue reading

Posted in Art, by jjneal, Food | 1 Comment

Living With Blackness

The bright colors of some insects are often the ones that capture our attention.  Black can be dull and overlooked.  However, black can be a sign of important biological processes.  The color we see as black is caused by the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Butterfly Bright Idea

The swallowtail butterfly, Papilio nireus, has a beautiful green fluorescent wing band. The wing fluoresces at a wavelength that is in tune with the principle light receptor pigment in the compound eyes of adult butterflies. Producing an intense fluorescence is key to … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal | 1 Comment

Living With Black Scales

Butterflies typically produce black wings using the pigment melanin. The melanin is incorporated into the cuticle secreted to form the scale. Scales are not solid structures; they have nano-structure. Scales have airspaces, and internal features such as ridges and spikes … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal | 1 Comment

The Original Impressionists

The wings of butterflies, like the wings of flies and bees are clear.  The chitin/protein composite secreted to make the wing membrane is transparent.  The color of butterfly wings is due entirely to the presence of scales.  Rub the scales … Continue reading

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Living With Scales

The wings of butterflies and moths are covered with scales.  Scales are modified hairs.  A hair is formed by a hair cell that secretes a linear strand of cuticle.  Scales form when secreted cuticle instead of growing as a linear … Continue reading

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Butterflies: Billboards With A Fixed Message

Butterflies use their wings as colorful billboards to communicate to other animals. Aposematic colors may say, “I am toxic.”. Cryptic colors may say, “I am not a butterfly, I am a dead leaf.” A mimic may use color to say, … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, communication, Taxonomy | 1 Comment