Friday, August 29, 2008

these aerial oars of magical colors...

butterfly wings through a microscope

"...we are no longer astonished at the activity shown by some butterflies, such as the sphinx, when they rifle the flowers of our gardens. they flit from one to the other with the speed of an arrow, and like the hummingbirds, they hang motionless before the corolla, plunging their long tongues to the bottom in order to sip the nectar, whilst their wings are agitated by movements which the eye cannot follow!

the delicacy of these aerial oars is no less remarkable than their movements.

however gently we take hold of the wing of a butterfly, our fingers never leave it without having some particles adhering, which seem only fine dust, the source of the magnificent coloring of the insect. but when this dust is submitted to microscopic examination, the observer is surprised to see that each of these grains represents a little flattened plate, lengthened out and of a delicate and complicated structure, which reflects the most magical colors. one of its extremities is generally toothed more or less deeply, whilst the other displays only a little pedicle, by which each imperceptible scale is attached to the transparent membrane of the wing."

image and text from the universe; or, the wonders of creation. the infinitely great and the infinitely little, by f.a. pouchet, 1883. the image is captioned: scales from the wings of different butterflies, seen with the microscope.

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Blogger ArtSparker said...

Unhand the butterflies.

8:48 AM  

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