The aim of our study was to investigate the correlation between structural colour and scale morphology in butterflies. Detailed correlations between blue colour and structure were investigated in three lycaenid subfamilies, which represent a monophylum in the butterfly family Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera): the Coppers (Lycaeninae), the Hairstreaks (Theclinae) and the Blues (Polyommatinae). Complex investigations such as spectral measurements and characterization by means of light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy enabled us to demonstrate that: (i) a wide array of nanostructures generate blue colours; (ii) monophyletic groups use qualitatively similar structures; and (iii) the hue of the blue colour is characteristic for the microstructure and nanostructure of the body of the scales.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine