Photo Synthesis

The King of Butterflies

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A scanning electron microscope image of a monarch butterfly wing.

Since a scanning electron microscope only collects a black and white image (representing intensity of electrons) the image must be colorized with photoshop. The colors are fairly close to the real colors of the wing.

The wing is composed of scales or platelets that in turn have a micro structure that creates turbulence as the wing moves through the air. The turbulence is responsible for decreasing drag on the wing and allows the butterfly to move with less energy.

Monarch Butterflies are native to North America where they migrate each spring from a wintering ground in Mexico. Each generation moves further north until the last generation gets the urge to migrate back to Mexico. Many Monarch butterflies are blown off course by storms. The butterflies in modern times have established themselves where ever there is a suitable host plant. Fairly recently monarchs have become established in New Zealand. Monarchs were not established in New Zealand until the caterpillar’s host plant of milkweed was accidentally released in the early 1900′s.

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This post was written by Ted Kinsman for Photo Synthesis

Comments

  1. #1 KeithB
    September 16, 2009

    Just to point out:
    Not all monarchs go to Mexico!

    If you are near the central California Coast in the winter, you can check it out:
    http://www.monarchbutterfly.org/

  2. #2 B. N. Sullivan
    September 16, 2009

    Welcome, Ted. Looking forward to seeing more of these remarkable images.

  3. #3 otis agabey
    September 20, 2009

    this looks somewhat similar, at least in purpose, doesn’t it?

    http://www.biomimicryinstitute.org/home-page-content/home-page-content/biomimicking-sharks.html

  4. #4 amsik
    January 11, 2010

    veery very good, Thank You.

  5. #5 sikiş
    January 23, 2010

    is there a causal link between HIV-1 infection and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency ? Does Z-A1AT (or other SERPINA1 gene mutations) cause AIDS in HIV-1 infected individuals, perhaps with the help of the HFE C282Y gene mutation (or other HFE gene mutations) ?

  6. #6 sikiş
    March 26, 2010

    clear clean water! A day in rice and that phone is as good as new.(Now if that’s a solution of NaOH or HCL, well then, that’s a different story.

    You want bad, have that cell phone drop into a privvy on the Appalachian Trail. 10 feet down into

  7. #7 metin2 hileleri
    May 13, 2010

    clear clean water! A day in rice and that phone is as good as new.(Now if that’s a solution of NaOH or HCL, well then, that’s a different story.

    You want bad, have that cell phone drop into a privvy on the Appalachian Trail. 10 feet down into

    thanks..

  8. #8 metin2 hile
    August 25, 2010

    clear clean water! A day in rice and that phone is as good as new.(Now if that’s a solution of NaOH or HCL, well then, that’s a different story.

  9. #9 totow
    September 3, 2011

    Very true words, no matter how worthy it may not be comparable.

  10. #10 dekorasyon
    May 2, 2012

    HIV-1 enfeksiyonu ve alfa-1 antitripsin eksikliği arasında nedensel bir ilişki vardır? Z-A1AT (veya diğer SERPINA1 gen mutasyonları) HFE C282Y gen mutasyonu (veya diğer HFE gen mutasyonlarının) yardımıyla, belki de HIV-1 ile enfekte kişilerde AIDS’e neden olur mu?