2011 Volume 52 Issue 3 Pages 297-303
We performed scanning electron microscopy observations of the scales on the dorsal surfaces of wings of male and female Chrysozephyrus ataxus butterflies. The male butterfly has curly scales on the blue or green wings. It was deduced that the interference of the selective incident rays with the wavelength λ in ∼560nm≥λ≥∼420nm and ∼340nm≥λ≥∼250nm occurs incoherently by layers ∼270 nm thick piled in the flat grooves which are enclosed by the ridges and ribs on the curled scale. The metallically glittering green-violet hues of the male wings is thereby attributed to the reflection of the human visible rays in ∼560 nm (green) ≥ λ ≥ ∼420 nm (violet). The vivid violet marks in the female’s forewings were also explained as the result of reflection of the incident rays in ∼400nm≥λ≥∼300nm from the layers ∼190 nm thick in the flat grooves on the dorsal scale. Although the monolayered cuticle structure was observed on the ridges of these scales, its contribution to the wing colouration must be less because of a small width of the ridges as compared with the flat grooves. The scales in the dark brown areas of the female wings are different in structure from these scales; they have not any layers but windows enclosed by the ridges and ribs. Most of the light through the windows is absorbed in the lower laminae containing the eumelanin. These results were deduced using data of a previous optical measurement by Imafuku et al. (Zool. Sci. 19 (2002) 175) and elucidated consistently their conclusion.