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…

Butterfly scales through the lens of a Foldscope

I was really excited to receive a new Foldscope kit recently, and after corresponding with Manu online, we agreed that butterfly scales represent a nice project that others can easily get involved with! Here are some previous posts on the subject: https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=10080, & https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=16562 Here’s magnification of a butterfly eyespot and through the lens of a #Foldscope below,…

Foldscope Workshop in the Peruvian Amazon

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a Tropical Entomology course in the Peruvian Amazon over winter break (this was through an organization called Field Projects International https://fieldprojects.org). Thanks to Manu and the Foldscope team, I was able to bring down several Foldscope units for my students. In addition to teaching them about topics ranging from ecology to…

Mirrors on the wings – story of Gulf Fritillary

On my usual walk outside with kids; I was met with a visual so stunningly beautiful.  I rubbed my eyes to believe what I had in front of me. An almost motionless butterfly glistening in the sun; shinning with mirrors on its wings. Let me repeat; yes “mirrors on the wings”.  To my advantage, the…

Butterfly Wing Structure – Transparency Edition

In the past I have posted about some of my experiences with the Foldscope in the Amazon rainforest, and more recently about investigating structural color in butterflies in the field (see here and here). I even just realized that others have made posts contributing to a butterfly scale database! For this particular trip to Ecuador,…

Butterfly Wings – A World of Color

I’ve had the chance to observe some interesting organisms and structures with my Foldscope thus far and my new favorite subject is the butterfly wing. Butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera and all members have scales covering their bodies and wings (in Latin, lepis means scale and ptera means wing). With over 180,000 described species,…

Wing Scales & Structural vs Pigment Color

  In the Peruvian Amazon, one can find a stunning array of butterflies along the river banks during the day. But wait, that’s no butterfly! The beautiful green Lepidoptera in the image above is actually a diurnal moth in the family Uraniidae. These moths are commonly seen gathered at mud puddles where they lap up important nutrients…