JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Butterfly wing. Close-up image of a butterfly wing. Butterfly wings are covered with tiny scales that are modified hairs (setae). They are made of chitin, the main component in insect exoskeletons. Many species have iridescent wings that alter colour under different directions of light. This is due to the photonic crystal structure of the setae. Photonic crystals are microscopic lattices that reflect light of specified wavelengths. The result is strong colouring without the use of pigments.
Model release not required. Property release not required.