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Stable structural color patterns displayed on transparent insect wings.

Shevtsova, Ekaterina LU ; Hansson, Christer LU ; Janzen, Daniel H. and Kjaerandsen, Jostein LU (2011) In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(2). p.668-673
Abstract
Color patterns play central roles in the behavior of insects, and are

important traits for taxonomic studies. Here we report striking and

stable structural color patterns—wing interference patterns (WIPs)

—in the transparent wings of small Hymenoptera and Diptera,

patterns that have been largely overlooked by biologists. These extremely

thin wings reflect vivid color patterns caused by thin film

interference. The visibility of these patterns is affected by the way

the insects display their wings against various backgrounds with

different light properties. The specific color sequence displayed

lacks pure red and matches the color vision of most insects,... (More)
Color patterns play central roles in the behavior of insects, and are

important traits for taxonomic studies. Here we report striking and

stable structural color patterns—wing interference patterns (WIPs)

—in the transparent wings of small Hymenoptera and Diptera,

patterns that have been largely overlooked by biologists. These extremely

thin wings reflect vivid color patterns caused by thin film

interference. The visibility of these patterns is affected by the way

the insects display their wings against various backgrounds with

different light properties. The specific color sequence displayed

lacks pure red and matches the color vision of most insects, strongly

suggesting that the biological significance of WIPs lies in visual

signaling. Taxon-specific color patterns are formed by uneven

membrane thickness, pigmentation, venation, and hair placement.

The optically refracted pattern is also stabilized by microstructures

of the wing such as membrane corrugations and spherical cell structures

that reinforce the pattern and make it essentially noniridescent

over a large range of light incidences. WIPs can be applied to

map the micromorphology of wings through direct observation

and are useful in several fields of biology. We demonstrate their

usefulness as identification patterns to solve cases of cryptic species

complexes in tiny parasitic wasps, and indicate their potentials

for research on the genetic control of wing development through

direct links between the transregulatory wing landscape and interference

patterns we observe in Drosophila model species. Some

species display sexually dimorphic WIPs, suggesting sexual selection

as one of the driving forces for their evolution. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to specialist publication or newspaper
publication status
published
subject
categories
Popular Science
in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
volume
108
issue
2
pages
668 - 673
publisher
National Acad Sciences
external identifiers
  • wos:000286097700046
  • scopus:79551679209
ISSN
1091-6490
DOI
10.1073/pnas.1017393108
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d917a235-89fd-4954-a90e-a2b1e275d2ef (old id 1762544)
date added to LUP
2011-01-14 13:03:14
date last changed
2017-11-05 03:04:11
@misc{d917a235-89fd-4954-a90e-a2b1e275d2ef,
  abstract     = {Color patterns play central roles in the behavior of insects, and are<br/><br>
important traits for taxonomic studies. Here we report striking and<br/><br>
stable structural color patterns—wing interference patterns (WIPs)<br/><br>
—in the transparent wings of small Hymenoptera and Diptera,<br/><br>
patterns that have been largely overlooked by biologists. These extremely<br/><br>
thin wings reflect vivid color patterns caused by thin film<br/><br>
interference. The visibility of these patterns is affected by the way<br/><br>
the insects display their wings against various backgrounds with<br/><br>
different light properties. The specific color sequence displayed<br/><br>
lacks pure red and matches the color vision of most insects, strongly<br/><br>
suggesting that the biological significance of WIPs lies in visual<br/><br>
signaling. Taxon-specific color patterns are formed by uneven<br/><br>
membrane thickness, pigmentation, venation, and hair placement.<br/><br>
The optically refracted pattern is also stabilized by microstructures<br/><br>
of the wing such as membrane corrugations and spherical cell structures<br/><br>
that reinforce the pattern and make it essentially noniridescent<br/><br>
over a large range of light incidences. WIPs can be applied to<br/><br>
map the micromorphology of wings through direct observation<br/><br>
and are useful in several fields of biology. We demonstrate their<br/><br>
usefulness as identification patterns to solve cases of cryptic species<br/><br>
complexes in tiny parasitic wasps, and indicate their potentials<br/><br>
for research on the genetic control of wing development through<br/><br>
direct links between the transregulatory wing landscape and interference<br/><br>
patterns we observe in Drosophila model species. Some<br/><br>
species display sexually dimorphic WIPs, suggesting sexual selection<br/><br>
as one of the driving forces for their evolution.},
  author       = {Shevtsova, Ekaterina and Hansson, Christer and Janzen, Daniel H. and Kjaerandsen, Jostein},
  issn         = {1091-6490},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {668--673},
  publisher    = {National Acad Sciences},
  series       = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  title        = {Stable structural color patterns displayed on transparent insect wings.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1017393108},
  volume       = {108},
  year         = {2011},
}