Sculpted-multilayer optical effects in two species of Papilio butterfly

Appl Opt. 2001 Mar 1;40(7):1116-25. doi: 10.1364/ao.40.001116.


The wing-scale microstructures associated with two species of Papilio butterfly are described and characterized. Despite close similarities in their structures, they do not exhibit analogous optical effects. With Papilio palinurus, deep modulations in its multilayering create bicolor reflectivity with strong polarization effects, and this leads to additive color mixing in certain visual systems. In contrast to this, Papilio ulysses features shallow multilayer modulation that produces monocolor reflectivity without significant polarization effects.