The Superpowers of Butterflies The Superpowers of Butterflies

Butterfly wings may be beautiful to the human eye, but their color, patterns, and transparency can serve as self-defense mechanisms, camouflaging them as well as warding off would-be predators, according to the Marine Biology Laboratory.

What to know:

  • Butterflies and moths are among the few creatures in nature that have transparency in their appearance, and they use it to camouflage themselves or to show predators that they are unpalatable or toxic.

  • An international collaboration of scientists across numerous disciplines studied butterflies and moths for several years, looking at the physics, biology, ecology, and evolution of transparency.

  • Several species of butterflies and moths have been found to have evolved to develop transparency over time and surprisingly did it in a similar manner even though they are different.

  • Vivid wing colors in butterflies and moths usually mean thatthey have chemicals in them that are toxic, and predators come to recognize which ones to avoid.

  • Some nontoxic species have adapted their transparency, coloring, and even wing spots to mimic the look of the toxic ones to protect themselves.

This is a summary of the article, “Transparency in Butterflies, From A-Z: It’s More of a Superpower Than We Thought,” published by Science Daily on January 24. The full article can be found on

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