Lepidoptera wing scale damage from human-handling

An experiment: We used a roadkill specimen found during our field research here in Panama to show the level of damage a light finger touch to a butterfly wing can cause thus affecting survivability by reduced flight capabilities.

We lightly touched this small section of upperwing with a finger and here you can see the disastrous results.

We use a strictly hands off approach when studying butterflies unless it’ absolutely necessary to handle them. This an illustration why such effort is worth it!

Damage: scale displacement, removal of scale surfaces and whole scale removal

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