5 Zebra Longwing Butterfly Facts

Zebra Longwing Butterfly Florida

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We tend to admire butterfly wings related to 5 Zebra Longwing Butterfly Facts for their captivating beauty. Our negligence in overlooking other interesting facts about these wings is therefore quite excusable... but wouldn't you like to know more? Here are our top ten (well, maybe more) facts that you will be excited to learn.

The scientific name for the butterfly/moth family is Lepidoptera. This phrase is derived from Greek roots meaning "level wings." For scientists, the most obvious characteristic that separates butterflies and moths from other insects is their scaled wings. While we may not observe this immediately, closer inspection of a butterfly reveals the fact that their wings are made from tiny scales that are actually bulbous, modified feathers. The pigments of the scales on their wings come both from chemical pigments such as melanin or from plants and waste that build up during metamorphosis. If you look at macro photography pictures of these scales, you can see that the scales differ not only in color, they differ in shape. Some butterflies appear to have a "dusty" feel. When you look at macro photography photographs of these butterflies, you will see that the round shaped scales actually look like an old, tightly woven carpet! Other butterflies appear to have a glossy or metallic texture. When you look at macro photography photographs of these butterflies, you will notice that the scales are comparatively flat with crisp, overlapping edges. Depending on the spacing between these flat, overlapping scales, reflective light waves interface to the level that some wavelengths are cancelled out while others are enhanced - like the patterns on a soap bubble. This is why the famous morpho butterflies have a metallic, iridescent appearance.

For a moment, let's forget about the condition and coloring of these scales: there is something intriguing that we discover by rubbing them all off: if the scales are removed, the wing that is left appears clear and slightly wrinkly - sort of like Saran Wrap! Some species of butterflies are in fact, scale-less. Collectors call them glass wing butterflies. Although these butterflies are intriguing to look at, we have to wonder whether or not having no scales may be a slight disadvantage considering that the scales of butterfly wings are flexible and self-cleaning! Grooming may therefore be slightly more complicated for glass wings! One last fact about the scales on butterfly wings: they often change hue - or even color - when wet. The species Papilio Ulysses Ulysses is particularly gorgeous to behold when it is wet: instead of its popular, radiant blue, the wings appear to be a teal-ish green color when wet. Unfortunately, we rarely get to view this detail in nature because butterflies hide from the rain - which leads us to our next round of interesting facts.

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Glenda Stovall
Publish at January 10, 2020 By: in Butterfly Category.

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