Butterfly wing scale, SEM

Butterfly wing scale, SEM

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Credit: PETR JAN JURACKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Butterfly wing scales. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a scale from the wing of a Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses), showing the photonic crystal structure. The colour of a butterfly's wing can arise either from a pigment contained in the scales or from the actual structure of the scales themselves, as here. Photonic crystals are nanostructures that affect the motion of photons in light, producing a specific colouration.

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Keywords: anatomical, anatomy, animal, animals, arthropod, arthropods, biological, biology, butterfly, close-up, coloration, colored, coloured, crystals, detail, entomological, entomology, false-colored, false-coloured, insect, insects, invertebrate, invertebrates, lepidopteran, lepidopterans, lepidoptery, light, microscope, microscopy, nanostructure, nanostructures, nature, no-one, nobody, optical, optics, papilio ulysses, photonic crystal, physical, physics, scale, scales, scanning electron micrograph, sem, structural colouration, structure, structures, ulysses butterfly, wildlife, wing, wings, zoological, zoology

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