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Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Jan 22;273(1583):129-34.

Structural or pigmentary? Origin of the distinctive white stripe on the blue wing of a Morpho butterfly.

Author information

1
Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. syoshi@fbs.osaka-u.ac.jp

Abstract

A few species of Morpho butterflies have a distinctive white stripe pattern on their structurally coloured blue wings. Since the colour pattern of a butterfly wing is formed as a mosaic of differently coloured scales, several questions naturally arise: are the microstructures the same between the blue and white scales? How is the distinctive whiteness produced, structurally or by means of pigmentation? To answer these questions, we have performed structural and optical investigations of the stripe pattern of a butterfly, Morpho cypris. It is found that besides the dorsal and ventral scale layers, the wing substrate also has the corresponding stripe pattern. Quantitative optical measurements and analysis using a simple model for the wing structure reveal the origin of the higher reflectance which makes the white stripe brighter.

PMID:
16555778
PMCID:
PMC1560023
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2005.3314
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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