Blue Emperor flashing or not?!?

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by tpe, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. tpe

    tpe TPF Noob!

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    These three are all of the same species of butterfly. The first a portrait of the blue emporer, O.K it doesnt look blue but that is because it has to open its wings, this guy didn't in the half an hour or so that let me take pictures, then it flew away with beautiful blue flashes to say so long. Fortunatly on the ground near by there was a dead one, that looked in very bad shape but there were a couple of bits of the wing that were ok, boy how the wife hates me picking up bits of dead insects. The second one is of one of the wing eye spots, and the third of the scales on the upper side of the wing, they give their blue colour by some kind of light refraction between the ridges of the scales. The space between the ridges gets to less than the wave length of light, or something like that, allowing only certain frequencies to escape, in this case blue. I was pleased to get the third pic as most of my attempts have either stopped being blue or not shown enough detail. Having looked at the down sized pic, going from 4000 to 800 pixels has not helped in making the ridges visable, you have to almost imagine them, you can see them on some scales but not to well sorry.
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    Blue Emporer Butterfly

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    Section of wing spot from under side of wing.

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    Blue flash from upper side of the same area of the wing. The ridges follow the direction of the scales and are giving the noise pattern on the scales at the screen resolution here.
    tim
     
  2. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sheesh Tim- this stuff is incredible! Close, closer and even closer. Are the darker scales(?) with the shredded tips older or a different type?
     
  3. Dal1970

    Dal1970 TPF Noob!

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    Wings open

    [​IMG]
     
  4. tpe

    tpe TPF Noob!

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    I was wondering exactly the same, how it manages to put them in so randomly too. I dont think they are different ages, but it would be very interesting to know how it did it, they dont seem to follow any of the colour patterns of the wings and I could not find anything about it in the literature. It does not seem to be any of the typcial methods like temperature (siamese cat ears) or morphogen gradients (retenoic asid etc). Perhaps it is like the tortoise shell cats and they are actually chimeric? It would probably be possible to run the dna from the different scales and see if there are are any SNPs but difficult and no result if you dont get a positive hit. Some insects have very odd sex chromosome configurations, it would be interesting to see if it is x or y linked and sexually differentiated like the tortoise shell cats, in which case it would be very easy to check with just a light microscope and some stain for the chromosomes.

    Thnks very much Dal1970. I couldnt get the shot for the life of me :) and that was perfect.

    tim
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008

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