Monday, 5 March 2012

Butterfly Scales

Butterflies have been known around the world for their iridescence. This trait has been used in technologies such as Mirasol displays to increase efficiency within battery power. I have explained this before within a previous post, but these photographs explain the phenomenon in a far more visually engaging way. 

These are the scales of Regina de bambiri at a 10x magnification through a microscope. This species does not have the iridescence of a Morpho butterfly, but this photograph shows the scaled structure that makes up the colour of the butterfly.

Here is a 20x magnification of the scales, showing the actual shape of these overlapping structures.

Here, another species of butterfly is seen with a similar structure, this time lit from the surface instead. This is designed to be a more artistic shot, showing the almost bone/feather support helping hold the wing together. This was shot on a 10x magnification.

Again, this shows another non-iridescent species (Cethosia myrina sandora). This was shot on a 10x magnification.

This is where the Morpho butterfly comes into play. Lighting the scales from underneath, you can see the shape of the scales that are similar to the top photographs of Regina de bambiri, but this time (with a little more light being shone onto the top of the subject) you can see the colour created by the nanostructure of the scales. Without this top lighting, the blue scale effect does not appear. 

Whilst looking at the Morpho under a microscope, I couldn't resist taking a few shots of the compound eye of these magnificent creatures. 38 to be exact. After stacking these shots, here is the final outcome.

Again here is another example of the eye of a butterfly, this time it was the A. adamsi butterfly. This shot was intended to be more artistic and abstract to the rest. All of these images were shot through a Zeiss microscope at university using a mounted D300 body.