Wing colors based on arrangement of the multilayer structure of wing scales in lycaenid butterflies (Insecta: Lepidoptera)
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Entomological Society of Japan
Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 400–407, October 2012
How to Cite
IMAFUKU, M., KUBOTA, H. Y. and INOUYE, K. (2012), Wing colors based on arrangement of the multilayer structure of wing scales in lycaenid butterflies (Insecta: Lepidoptera). Entomological Science, 15: 400–407. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-8298.2012.00525.x
- Issue published online: 4 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2012
- Received 29 September 2011; accepted 19 February 2012.
- multilayer structure;
- reflectance spectrum;
- structural color;
- wing scale
Male wing colors and wing scale morphology were examined for three species of lycaenid butterflies: Chrysozephyrus ataxus, Favonius cognatus and F. jezoensis. Measurement of spectral reflectance on the wing surface with a spectrophotometer revealed species-specific reflection spectra, with one or two peaks in the ultraviolet and/or green ranges. Observations of wing scales using an optical microscope revealed that light was reflected from the inter-ridge regions, where transmission electron microscopy revealed a multilayer structure. Based on the multilayer dimensions obtained, three models were devised and compared to explain the measured reflectance spectrum. The results showed that the best fit is a model in which thicknesses of thin films of the multilayer system are not constant and air spaces between cuticle layers are more or less packed with cuticle spacers. This suggests that the specific wing colors of the species examined are produced by the species-specific arrangement of the multilayer structure of wing scales.