Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Volume 223, 2020
Previous Article Next Article

On the multifunctionality of butterfly scales: a scaling law for the ridges of cover scales

Author affiliations

Abstract

The bright colors found on the wings of some butterflies have been widely examined during recent decades because they are frequently caused by nano-structures and not by pigments or dyes. Sometimes it is puzzling to discover the physical origin of these structural colors because the color-causing nano-structures are integrated into a complex structure of scales that densely covers the butterfly wings. While the color of the wings serves purposes ranging from mating to camouflage and thermoregulation, the overall structure of the scales is commonly believed to assist with aerodynamics, self-cleaning, and easy release from spider webs. This multi-functionality of butterfly scales causes various constraints for their evolutionary design. Here, we present a structural analysis of the height and distance of the ridges in cover scales of butterfly species from different families. The subsequent analysis reveals a linear scaling law. The height of the ridges is always less than half of the distance between them. Finally, we discuss possible reasons for this geometrical scaling law.

Graphical abstract: On the multifunctionality of butterfly scales: a scaling law for the ridges of cover scales

Back to tab navigation

Associated articles

Article information


Submitted
06 Apr 2020
Accepted
15 May 2020
First published
03 Aug 2020

This article is Open Access

Faraday Discuss., 2020,223, 195-206
Article type
Paper

On the multifunctionality of butterfly scales: a scaling law for the ridges of cover scales

P. Köchling, A. Niebel, K. Hurka, F. Vorholt and H. Hölscher, Faraday Discuss., 2020, 223, 195
DOI: 10.1039/D0FD00038H

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

  • For reproduction of material from NJC:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
    [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
  • For reproduction of material from PPS:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements