Although the physical mechanism of light trapping property of butterfly wings is well understood, it remains a challenge to create artificial replicas of these natural functional structures. Here, we synthesized a SiO2 inverse replica of a light trapping structure in butterfly wing scales using a method combining a sol–gel process and subsequent selective etching. First, the reflectance spectrum was taken to measure the reflectivity. Then, FESEM and TEM were used to observe the coupling structure of scales and the replicas. Afterwards, assisted by SEM and TEM data, 3D optimized models of the structures and fabrication process were generated by software. Finally, the parametric comparisons of the morphologies and structures between the original template and the inverse SiO2 replica were carefully conducted, and it was found that the original structures of bio-templates were well inherited by the structures of the inverse replica. This work would open up possibilities for an extensive study of mimicking novel bio-inspired functional materials, and the reported biomimetic technique confirms the feasibility of extending the functional structures in butterfly wings to particular optical devices in the field of space exploration, space equipment, photoelectrical devices and photo-induced sensors.