Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Scales

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Scales
The overlapping scales on the wing of the Blue Morpho Butterfly contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create iridescent colors. This scanning electron microscope image shows Morpho wing scales from above. The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency.

Minimum credit: 

Shinya Yoshioka, Osaka University


Each scale is about 70x200 ┬Ám.


This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

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