Correlated diffraction and fluorescence in the backscattering iridescence of the male butterfly Troides magellanus (Papilionidae)

Jean Pol Vigneron, Krisztián Kertész, Zofia Vértesy, Marie Rassart, Virginie Lousse, Zsolt Bálint, László P. Biró

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The male Troides magellanus-a birdwing butterfly that lives in a restricted area of the Philippines-concentrates on its hindwings at least two distinct optical processes that contribute to its exceptional visual attraction. The first is the very bright uniform yellow coloration caused by a pigment which generates yellow-green fluorescence, and the other is a blue-green iridescence which results from light diffraction at grazing emergence under a specific illumination. Detailed optical measurements reveal that these optical effects are correlated, the fluorescence being enhanced by illuminations conditions that favor the occurrence of the iridescence. These effects are analyzed, with the conclusion that both of them depend on the same optical device: a one-dimensional microribs grating which appear on the sides of the ridges that run along the yellow scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021903
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 8 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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