Stable structural color patterns displayed on transparent insect wings.

Ekaterina Shevtsova, Christer Hansson, Daniel H. Janzen, Jostein Kjaerandsen

    Forskningsoutput: Bidrag till övrig tidskrift/dags- eller nyhetstidningArtikel i facktidskrift eller populärpressPopulärvetenskap


    Color patterns play central roles in the behavior of insects, and are
    important traits for taxonomic studies. Here we report striking and
    stable structural color patterns—wing interference patterns (WIPs)
    —in the transparent wings of small Hymenoptera and Diptera,
    patterns that have been largely overlooked by biologists. These extremely
    thin wings reflect vivid color patterns caused by thin film
    interference. The visibility of these patterns is affected by the way
    the insects display their wings against various backgrounds with
    different light properties. The specific color sequence displayed
    lacks pure red and matches the color vision of most insects, strongly
    suggesting that the biological significance of WIPs lies in visual
    signaling. Taxon-specific color patterns are formed by uneven
    membrane thickness, pigmentation, venation, and hair placement.
    The optically refracted pattern is also stabilized by microstructures
    of the wing such as membrane corrugations and spherical cell structures
    that reinforce the pattern and make it essentially noniridescent
    over a large range of light incidences. WIPs can be applied to
    map the micromorphology of wings through direct observation
    and are useful in several fields of biology. We demonstrate their
    usefulness as identification patterns to solve cases of cryptic species
    complexes in tiny parasitic wasps, and indicate their potentials
    for research on the genetic control of wing development through
    direct links between the transregulatory wing landscape and interference
    patterns we observe in Drosophila model species. Some
    species display sexually dimorphic WIPs, suggesting sexual selection
    as one of the driving forces for their evolution.
    SpecialistpublikationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    FörlagNational Academy of Sciences
    StatusPublished - 2011

    Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

    • Zoologi


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