Monday, November 05, 2007

Transparent butterflies

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.


anurag said...

Awesome, man. It looks absolutely breathtaking..

terry said...

" butterflies are free to 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.