Origin of butterfly colors
When the caterpillar comes out of the cocoon where does it
get it's color?
Thanks for your question. The butterflies colors are caused by many
many colored scales on the insect's wings. If you have ever touched
a butterfly's or moth's wings, you may have seen a colored 'powder'
on your fingers. That 'powder' is actually colored scales which give
the wings their special color. You might ask your teacher, in spring
when butterflies again are flying, to catch one and use a cotton swab
to remove some of the scales and put them on a microscope slide.
Thanks for using NEWTON!
p.s. By the way, the order in which butterflies and moths are placed for
classification by scientists is called LEPIDOPTERA.... the 'lepid...'
part means 'scale' and the '..tera' part means 'winged'...so the
Lepidopterans are the scale winged insects.
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Update: June 2012