Butterfly Adaptations – How They Come By Their Colors
Go behind the scenes at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History to meet Butterfly Pavilion Manager Eric Wenzel and Microscopy Educator Juan Pablo Hurtado Padilla.
During this webcast, which originally aired May 24, 2018, Eric and Juan Pablo explore butterfly adaptations, with special regard to their colorful and patterned wings. Eric Wenzel shares butterfly collections from the Smithsonian, showing special adaptations such as mimicry, mimesis, and camouflage.
Juan Pablo provides a closer look at the butterfly wings by placing them under the scanning electronic microscope (SEM), revealing the detailed wing structures that give the blue morpho butterfly its brilliantly iridescent blue color.
The webcast concludes with a discussion about engineering applications of the unique way colors appear on butterfly wings. Students should come away with a new understanding of the roles of color in nature.
This program originally aired as part of the Smithsonian Science How webcast series, which is designed to bring natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.
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