Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Butterfly Colors and Biomimicry


National Middle School Science Standards

Life SciencePhysical Science, Engineering Design

Key Terms

butterfly, coloration, adaptation, camouflage, nanostructure , biomimicry  

Key Concepts

  • Coloration as adaptation to hide or show
  • Butterfly color adaptations
  • Pigmented vs. structural coloration
  • Nanostructure of butterfly wings
  • Technology used to study coloration

Resource Types

Entomology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Butterfly Coloration teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Life Science

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

Physical Science

MS-PS4 Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

  • MS-PS4-2 Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.

Engineering Design

MS-ETS1 Engineering Design

  • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Engineering and Technology, Life Science