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Lack of wing scales enhances camouflage: clearwing butterfies


Clearwing butterfly / Jerry Fraust.. / LicenseCC-by - Attribution

The wings of a clearwing butterfly provide camouflage because they lack scales, allowing whatever background the butterfly has landed on to show through its wings.

"Some butterfly scales are modified into short spiky points, others into long, fine hairs. In some butterflies, especially those known as the clearwings, parts of the wing carry few or no scales, or scales reduced to tiny bristles. The effect of this is to camouflage the insect by allowing its background -- such as the flower on which it is feeding -- to show through the wings." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:99-100)
About the inspiring organism
Med_2758740601_6dd16102fe_b Greta oto
Greta oto Hewitson 1854

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: LepIndex: The Global Lepidoptera Names Index
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

IUCN Red List Status: Unknown

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Less obtrusive cell phone towers, utility poles, and wind turbines.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Communications and utilities infrastructure

Foy S; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
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