Swallowtail butterfly wing

Swallowtail butterfly wing

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Credit: VICTORIA FIRMSTON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Swallowtail butterfly wing. Close-up of the wing of a common European swallowtail butterfly (Papilio machaon). The structure of the wing is like a roof, with tiny coloured scales arranged like overlapping tiles. The scales are attached to the wing by a short stalk (not seen) that fits into a tubular socket. Coloured pigments in the scales and the diffraction of light off their surface determines the colour of the wing. The common European swallowtail is yellow and black, with stripes of blue and a red spot on each hind wing.

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Keywords: animal, butterfly, close-up, common european, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, papilio machaon, pattern, patterned, scale, scales, swallowtail, wildlife, wing, zoology

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