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Opt Express. 2011 Mar 28;19(7):5817-26. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.005817.

High angular and spectral selectivity of purple emperor (Lepidoptera: Apatura iris and A. ilia) butterfly wings.

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  • 1Institute of Physics, University of Belgrade, Zemun, Serbia. pantelic@ipb.ac.rs


The iridescent features of the butterfly species Apatura iris (Linnaeus, 1758) and A. ilia (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) were studied. We recognized the structural color of scales only on the dorsal side of both the fore and hind wings of males of both of the aforementioned butterfly species. The scale dimensions and microstructure were analyzed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The optical properties were measured and it was found that the peak reflectivity is around 380 nm, with a spectral width (full width at half maximum) of approximately 50 nm in both species. The angular selectivity is high and a purple iridescent color is observed within the angular range of only 18 degrees in both species.

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