Document Detail

Butterfly wing colors: glass scales of Graphium sarpedon cause polarized iridescence and enhance blue/green pigment coloration of the wing membrane.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20435824     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The wings of the swordtail butterfly Graphium sarpedon nipponum contain the bile pigment sarpedobilin, which causes blue/green colored wing patches. Locally the bile pigment is combined with the strongly blue-absorbing carotenoid lutein, resulting in green wing patches and thus improving camouflage. In the dorsal forewings, the colored patches lack the usual wing scales, but instead have bristles. We have found that on the ventral side most of these patches have very transparent scales that enhance, by reflection, the wing coloration when illuminated from the dorsal side. These glass scales furthermore create a strongly polarized iridescence when illuminated by obliquely incident light from the ventral side, presumably for intraspecific signaling. A few ventral forewing patches have diffusely scattering, white scales that also enhance the blue/green wing coloration when observed from the dorsal side.
Doekele G Stavenga; Marco A Giraldo; Hein L Leertouwer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  213     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2010 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-05-03     Completed Date:  2010-08-02     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1731-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Neurobiophysics, University of Groningen, Physics-Chemistry Building, Nijenborgh 4, Groningen, 9747 AG, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Butterflies / physiology*
Pigmentation / physiology*
Pigments, Biological / metabolism*
Spectrum Analysis
Wing / physiology*,  ultrastructure
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Pigments, Biological

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