A fashion designer’s latest creation or was nature at work here?
What may look like a finely woven Gobelin fabric does not come from Paris, however is of equally inestimable value. This pattern was created by Mother Nature and is a butterfly wing covered in colourful scales. The clue is in the biological name of this insect: 160,000 species of Lepidoptera or “scaled wing” butterflies can be found in the fields and forests around the world. Up to a million scales can be found on all four wings. These insects boast an almost endless array of colours: from the dark nocturnal variations to the dazzling tropical species, such as the azure blue morpho butterfly. Butterflies, in addition to bees and other insects, have an important role to play in the natural ecosystem: individual species often live in close symbiosis with several regional flowers and pollinate these with their long proboscis when looking for food. While they are busy sucking up the nectar, the pollen sticks to their bodies. They then carry the pollen from one flower to the next. In the course of evolution, butterflies and flowering plants have even developed simultaneously. Fossils have proven that these animals were floating around at least 130 million years ago. Many cultures attribute a mystical meaning to butterflies; the Ancient Greeks regarded them to be the embodiment of the “psyche”, that is, the human soul.
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