Living With Black Scales

Black Swallowtail

Butterflies typically produce black wings using the pigment melanin. The melanin is incorporated into the cuticle secreted to form the scale. Scales are not solid structures; they have nano-structure. Scales have airspaces, and internal features such as ridges and spikes at the nano-level. When a photon leaves a cuticular area and enters an airspace, it does so at an angle, rather than perpendicular. This makes the photon path more tortuous increasing its chances of…

Source: Living With Insects Blog

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