Most butterflies appear colorful and have eye-catching patterns on their wings. While, some butterfly species, such as the Glass winged butterfly, feature transparent wings to hide in plain sight. There are antireflective properties making the insects stealthy.
Transparency is the key form of camouflage among these Glass winged butterflies. Transparent animals are Glass winged butterflies that they blend instantly into any of the backgrounds. The researchers found that the glass wing butterfly transparent regions of wings reflect only 2% light. Stripping off the waxy layer causes the wings to reflect around 2.5 times light as they do normally.
These results do not help to understand how these butterflies stay away from their predators. They inspire antireflective coatings for solar panels, camera lenses and other devices, say researchers.
Researchers viewed the wings under the microscope of these Central American butterflies. There they spied sparse, spindly scales to overlay a see-through wing membrane. That membrane has antireflective properties working as a combo making the insects stealthy.
Being transparent is the ultimate camouflage, say behavioral ecologist at McMaster University. Transparent animals easily blend into any background. They also say “It’s really hard to do,” and to limit light reflection. They believe to limit light reflection the Glass winged butterfly has to modify its entire body.
The glass winged butterflies transparent wings have a tissue between their veins and it appears like the glass and does not have like other butterflies the colored scales. Their transparent wings are tough to track in flight for the predatory birds.
The glass winged butterflies are abundant in Mexico, Panama, and Colombia. These butterflies migrate great distances and are found even as far north as Florida. They feed mostly on common plants a shrub, Lantana, having aromatic flowers. They lay their eggs that contain alkaloid compounds that are toxic to humans. Both caterpillars and adults store alkaloid compounds and these make them unattractive prey, while they are nauseating to birds.
Males convert the alkaloids into pheromones to attract females. Groups of males keep fluttering around spreading pheromones to suitably pair with a female, and this behavior is called lekking. The glass winged butterflies look stunningly beautiful and have an average length of 28 to 30mm and can travel per hour up to eight miles.
Glass Winged Butterfly Pictures