Butterfly scales

Butterfly scales

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Credit: MANFRED KAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Macrophotograph of the wing of a small tortoiseshell butterfly Aglais urticae, showing the arrangement of the scales. The structure of the wing is like a roof, with coloured scales corresponding to the overlapping tiles. The scales are attached to a membrane (the wing itself) by a short stalk, which fits into a tubular socket. The colour of the butterfly's wing is determined not only by pigmentation, but also by diffraction of light and the surface structure of the scale. A. urticae lives in fields and cultivated land, feeding exclusively on nettles.

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Keywords: aglais urticae, animal, butterfly, butterfly wing, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, scale, scales, small tortoiseshell butterfly, wildlife, wing, zoology

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