Colorful moth wings date back to the age of dinosaurs

Colorful moth wings date back to the age of dinosaurs

In a report published on April 11, the researchers noted that fossil moth insects from the Jurassic period formed a rainbow of texture scales on their forewings. These fossils are the earliest known examples of the structure of insects that show the color of the structure – that is, the color produced by the light that is bent around the microstructure, rather than being absorbed and reflected by the pigment or dye. Structural colors are common in today’s bird feathers and butterfly wings, but they can be tricky to find in the fossil record.
Paleontologists of the smithsonian institutionin Washington, d.c., kang, Della class she said scientists know about the size of the ancient butterflies and moths look very few, because this level of detail preservation in few fossils, he is not part of the job.
For the study, paleontologist Dr Wang bo and his colleagues spent three years examining the fossil specimens of more than 500 extinct lepidoptera. Wang, an academician of the Chinese academy of sciences, said most of the preservation is not good enough, and there are still scale residues. But there are six Jurassic fossils, the oldest of which are nearly 200 million years old. The researchers examined the microscale wing structures of the specimens under a scanning electron microscope and then used a computer program to determine what color the wings would appear.

The wings of ancient moths have large scales covered with scales, and they have a series of parallel v-shaped ridges that form a herringbone pattern. Similar features can be seen in today’s Micropterigidae, a primitive moth family, Wang said. He and his team concluded from computer analysis that the size and alignment of these structures allowed the moth wings to scatter light to display a series of flash colors.
A biophysicist at the university of Exeter in England, Peter wu library heath (Pete Vukusic) said, the modern structure of moth and butterfly wings even more subtle than the fine structure of these fossil insects, but he is not part of the study. But the wings are so fragile that it is possible that the scales of the ancient lepidoptera are not preserved in the fossil record, he said.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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