Monday, November 05, 2007

Transparent butterflies

Update:
TTL said:
This almost begs the question: Why didn't God think of this before? For surely transparency beats camouflage colouring any day.

Perhaps we are surrounded by lots and lots of creatures who are completely transparent?

----
They're apparently for real. Amazing.





10 comments:

anurag said...

Awesome, man. It looks absolutely breathtaking..

terry said...

" butterflies are free to fly.......fly away butterflies....." taken from Someone Saved My Life Tonight (Elton John Classic Hit.) Beautiful photos Captain Eo. I never knew any were transparent.

Gandalfe said...

Astonishing. And I see there is agreement on that here. :o)

ttl said...

This almost begs the question: Why didn't God think of this before? For surely transparency beats camouflage colouring any day.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

You were right: I *AM* amazed. :-)

They've made transparent frogs in Japan lately, so now see-through butterflies are easier to make with genetics than with Photoshop. Once alive, they'll just breed on their own, for free!
Sure, they COULD be fakes, but I don't think so. They're just too plausible.

Paul said...

I saw some photos of transparent butterflies for the first time in my life about a year ago. How can you live 50 years without knowing or even suspecting the world has something that wonderful in it?

eolake said...

I know! It's the weirdest thing.

If they are real. They look almost as clear as glass, and it's hard to imagine doing that with the materials butterflies' wings are made of.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

And yet, Eo, we all know that species of fish that's as transparent as glass. I once had some.

eolake said...

Yes, but they're wet. The wings of butterflies are dry and powdery.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

The very flesh and muscles of glassfish are transparent. You can perfectly see their organs and skeleton. They're not like JELLYFISH, which are 97% water.

You have a point on the butterfly wings. Just remember this: their "powder", actually microscopic scales, are what creates the colors by diffracting specific wavelegths of light. Transparent butterfly wings could actually result from a very simple single mutation, giving smooth scales instead or variously rippled ones, by a change in their constituting proteins. A bit like albinism.

I fing more difficulty in fish having transparent flesh. Usually, it's more or less reddish-colored by the presence of iron Fe++ in myoglobin.
Also, adult insect wings are no more living structures (this is why they don't repair when damaged). Transparency won't harm them, while an animal with a transparent BODY will have his whole cells and DNA fully exposed to the lethal effect of UV sunlight, which is normally stopped by the skin pigments. It's a matter or elementary survival.