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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Ceratocorys horrida

The Red Banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Here at NMNH,the SEM is primarily used here to examine morphological details in taxonomic research. Highlighted below is an example of wing scales from the Hairstreak. Wing scales assist in the aerodynamics and structural integrity of the wing. Pigmentation provides color and patterns useful for display or camouflage and are important for thermal regulation. On some the spacing and frequency of the ridges and cross ribs are such that they diffract light to produce the shimmering colors and patterns of iridescence. The zoom series detailed below will show some of the microstructure of wing scales. In each of these images color has been artificially added. Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.

Low magnification image of the compound eye of the Red Banded Hairstreak.
Low magnification image of the compound eye of the Red Banded Hairstreak.
An ommatidium.
An ommatidium.
Enlarged image detailing the individual lens facets called ommatidium.
Enlarged image detailing the individual lens facets called ommatidium.
Captured at around 25,000x magnification you can clearly see the structure of the surface of the lens. The bumps seen here act as a refractory coating to prevent glare and reflection. At around 200nm in size they are less than the wavelength of visible light breaking up the refractive index of the air/eye interface. This allows the insect to see more clearly.
Captured at around 25,000x magnification you can clearly see the structure of the surface of the lens. The bumps seen here act as a refractory coating to prevent glare and reflection. At around 200nm in size they are less than the wavelength of visible light breaking up the refractive index of the air/eye interface. This allows the insect to see more clearly.
Low magnification image of a portion of a Red Banded Hairstreak wing.
Low magnification image of a portion of a Red Banded Hairstreak wing.
Magnified even more you can really see how tightly packed together the scales are.
Magnified even more you can really see how tightly packed together the scales are.
A little higher in magnification.
A little higher in magnification.
The Hairstreak derives most of it's color from pigmentation in the scales, but also displays iridescence. The spacing and frequency of the crossmembers depicted here are such that they diffract light to produce interference colors.
The Hairstreak derives most of it's color from pigmentation in the scales, but also displays iridescence. The spacing and frequency of the crossmembers depicted here are such that they diffract light to produce interference colors.

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