Popular Science

Scientists are puzzling out how butterflies assemble their brightly colored scales

Shine bright like a butterfly
butterflies in a line


Butterflies can thank nanocrystal structures for their lovely colors.

From the danger-sign orange of Monarch butterflies, to the regal blues of the Blue Morpho, butterflies come in a veritable rainbow of colors.

The insects display those incredible hues thanks to scales on their wings. Those scales are made up of crystals, which are made up of a sugar molecule called chitin (the same stuff that makes up insect exoskeletons and mushrooms

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